Sn-O-C composites were electrodeposited using organic carbonate solvents and their electrochemical mechanism was thoroughly investigated to achieve desired anode performances, such as high capacity and cycle durability for lithium secondary batteries. Cyclic voltammetry study clarified the multiple stages of electrochemical mechanism during the Sn-O-C composite deposition process. It was revealed that Sn deposition, decomposition of organic electrolytes, and reaction between Li+ and deposited Sn were consecutively carried out. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and field emission scanning electron microscopy were performed to characterize how each stage contributes to the formation of the Sn-O-C composite. The results showed increase in metallic Sn composition and dense coating with fine particle sizes with a higher overpotential stage. Afterward, different Sn-O-C composite anodes were prepared by varying charge quantities passing through each deposition stage and their electrochemical performances as anode materials were investigated. Discharge capacities were obtained from the lowest value of 33 mAh g of Sn-1 to the highest value of 429 mAh g of Sn-1 at the 100th cycle by varying deposition conditions. Consequently, it was suggested that anode performance was significantly influenced by an electrodeposition process consisting of three consecutive stages with different overpotential regions and reactions of Li ion with deposited Sn.
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