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Nano Lett. 2018 Mar 14;18(3):2067-2073. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b00183. Epub 2018 Mar 5.

Suppressing Dendritic Lithium Formation Using Porous Media in Lithium Metal-Based Batteries.

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State Key Laboratory of Solidification Processing, Center for Nano Energy Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering , Northwestern Polytechnical University and Shaanxi Joint Laboratory of Graphene (NPU) , Xi'an 710072 , China.
Department of Mechanical Engineering , Boston University , 110 Cummington Mall , Boston , Massachusetts 02215 , United States.
College of Mechatronics and Control Engineering , Shenzhen University , Shenzhen 518060 , China.
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering , Utah State University , Logan , Utah 84322 , United States.
College of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering , Chongqing University of Science and Technology , Chongqing 401311 , China.
Department of Mechanical Engineering , University of Delaware , Newark , Delaware 19716 , United States.


Because of its ultrahigh specific capacity, lithium metal holds great promise for revolutionizing current rechargeable battery technologies. Nevertheless, the unavoidable formation of dendritic Li, as well as the resulting safety hazards and poor cycling stability, have significantly hindered its practical applications. A mainstream strategy to solve this problem is introducing porous media, such as solid electrolytes, modified separators, or artificial protection layers, to block Li dendrite penetration. However, the scientific foundation of this strategy has not yet been elucidated. Herein, using experiments and simulation we analyze the role of the porous media in suppressing dendritic Li growth and probe the underlying fundamental mechanisms. It is found that the tortuous pores of the porous media, which drastically reduce the local flux of Li+ moving toward the anode and effectively extend the physical path of dendrite growth, are the key to achieving the nondendritic Li growth. On the basis of the theoretical exploration, we synthesize a novel porous silicon nitride submicron-wire membrane and incorporate it in both half-cell and full-cell configurations. The operation time of the battery cells is significantly extended without a short circuit. The findings lay the foundation to use a porous medium for achieving nondendritic Li growth in Li metal-based batteries.


Lithium anode; dendrite; fundamental mechanisms; porous media

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