Project title: “Novel nanostructured tin based alloys for electronic applications and as electrode materials for Li ion batteries using ionic liquid analogues”


Project type: European project – M-ERA.NET


NOVTINALBEST aims at developing novel scientific and technological routes to reach high performance nanostructured Sn alloys coatings from environmentally friendly ionic liquids analogues suitable for electronic applications and as electrode materials for Li ion batteries.

In the last ten years, an increased interest has been focused on the use of the novel ionic liquids based on eutectic mixtures of quaternary ammonium salts (e.g. 2-hydroxy-ethyl-trimethyl ammonium chloride) with hydrogen bond donor species such as amides, glycols or carboxylic acids as novel electrolytes for a large range of metal surface treatments through electrochemical and electroless processes. These media, also known as “deep eutectic solvents (DES)” or “ionic liquid analogues (ILAs)”exhibit good air and water stability, may be easily synthesized at a lower cost. Therefore, the sustainability of the new ionic liquid electrolytes is greatly superior to both current aqueous systems and alternative ionic liquids. Based on previous excellent experimental results, the present project intends to develop several novel nanostructured coatings, respectively: whiskers resistant Sn binary and ternary alloys (e.g. SnCu, Sn-Ni, Sn-Co, Sn-In, Sn-Ag, Sn-Ag-Cu, Sn-Ag-In, Sn-Cu-Ni) with applications in electronics and as nanostructured anodes for Li ion batteries as well. Through a careful selection of IL based electrolyte composition and operating conditions various nano-morphologies could be obtained, which are expected to create interconnects with low electrical resistivity and superior lifetimes against electromigration and stress migration and thus to enable miniaturization of modern microelectronic devices. In addition, the developed nanostructured Sn binary alloys (as continuous films electrodeposited onto a substrate or as one-dimensional materials, such as nanorods/nanowires), including Sn-Cu, Sn-Ni, Sn-Co will be further optimized to be also used as anode materials for Li-ion battery. In the last years, much attention has been devoted to the study of binary tin-alloys (MxSny) as reliable candidates for anodes instead of pure Sn. In these alloys M is an inactive electrochemical matrix vs. Lithium reaction which buffers drastically the volume expansion/contraction during the lithium alloying process. The influence of graphene addition both to stop whiskers growth and to improve the nanostructured Sn based alloy anode performance will be also investigated.

The present project strongly addresses new environmentally friendly processing routes and new solutions to develop nanostructured coatings with tailored properties through optimization of cathodic reaction. It is expected a significant impact on the development of novel nano-alloys metallic coatings with a large sectorial use besides electronics, including renewable energy, metal finishing and automotive. The main advantage of the development and promotion of the implementation of these new electrolyte media refers not only to the accumulation of new scientific information but also allows the minimization of production costs, of industrial waste quantities, with positive effects on environment and health. The introduction of novel nano-alloys surfaces, less costly, produced in more environmentally friendly conditions or in the absence of more toxic chemical reagents will have a big impact in industry and economy of efforts in waste treatments costs reduction and shortening of manufacturing duration.

National and European industry will benefit from the development of innovative technological applications with less environmental impact that can create novel products with significant improved performance, new metal finishing protocols and technology. In particular the institutions proposing this project will benefit from the work in cutting-edge scientific areas, developing of new methodologies in ionic liquids applications, improving their scientific knowledge to give them a better contribution over industries and to allow the formation of young scientists in a scientific area of great importance.