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Cryogenic Focused Ion Beam Characterization of Lithium Metal Anodes

  • Author(s): Lee, JZ
  • Wynn, TA
  • Schroeder, MA
  • Alvarado, J
  • Wang, X
  • Xu, K
  • Meng, YS
  • et al.

Lithium metal is viewed as the ultimate battery anode because of its high theoretical capacity and low electrode potential, but its implementation has been limited by low Coulombic efficiency and dendrite formation above a critical current density. Determining the fundamental properties dictating lithium metal plating-stripping behavior is challenging because characterization techniques are limited by the sensitivity of lithium metal to damage by external probes, which regularly results in altered morphology and chemistry. Motivated by recent application of cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) to characterize lithium metal at the atomic scale, we explore the cryogenic focused ion beam (cryo-FIB) method as a quantitative tool for characterizing the bulk morphology of electrochemically deposited lithium and as a technique that enables TEM observation of Li-metal/solid-state electrolyte interfaces. This work highlights the importance of cryo-FIB methodology for preparing sensitive battery materials and elucidates the impact of electrolyte selection on the density and morphology of plated lithium.

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