Silicon based anode active materials are described for use in lithium ion batteries. The silicon based materials are generally composites of nanoscale elemental silicon with stabilizing components that can comprise, for example, silicon oxide-carbon matrix material, inert metal coatings or combinations thereof. High surface area morphology can further contribute to the material stability when cycled in a lithium based battery. In general, the material synthesis involves a significant solution based processing step that can be designed to yield desired material properties as well as providing convenient and scalable processing.
 Development of the inventions described herein was at least partially funded with government support through U.S. Department of Energy grant ARPA-E-DE-AR0000034 and California Energy Commission grant ARV-09-004, and the U.S. government has certain rights in the inventions.