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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Growth of Lithium Dendrites and Globules through a Solid Block Copolymer Electrolyte as a Function of Current Density

  • Author(s): Maslyn, JA
  • Loo, WS
  • McEntush, KD
  • Oh, HJ
  • Harry, KJ
  • Parkinson, DY
  • Balsara, NP
  • et al.

The uncontrollable nonplanar electrodeposition of lithium is a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of high energy density rechargeable batteries with a lithium metal anode. A promising approach for preventing the growth of lithium dendrites is the use of solid polymer electrolytes with a high shear modulus. Current density is the key variable in the electrodeposition of lithium. The present study is the first attempt at quantifying the effect of current density on the geometry and density of dendrites and other protrusions during electrodeposition through a solid polymer electrolyte. The geometry and density of defects formed on the lithium electrode were determined by X-ray microtomography. The tomograms revealed protrusions on the electrodeposited lithium electrodes that were either globular or dendritic, or void defects. The range of current densities over which stable, planar deposition was observed is quantified. At higher current densities, globular protrusions were observed. At the highest current density, both globular and dendritic protrusions were observed. The areal density of protrusion defects increased sharply with current density, while the overall defect density is a weak function of current density. Our work enables comparisons between the experimentally determined onset of nonplanar electrodeposition and prevailing theoretical predictions with no adjustable parameters.

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