Modifying lithium anodes with a silicide layer reduces dendritic growth and could improve the performance of lithium batteries.
Lithium metal anodes are a promising technology in rechargeable batteries, but issues with the charging process has stopped lithium being widely commercialised.
When a lithium battery is charged, lithium grows dendritic structures on its surface that can penetrate the battery operator, creating internal short circuits that can impair battery performance.
A team at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, have claimed to have solved this problem through the addition of a lithium silicide (LixSi) coating over the lithium metal anode. The layer has been found to reduce dendritic growth during charging.
Using an in situ opticmicroscopic study to monitor the electrochemical deposition of lithium on both the LixSi layer and bare lithium anode, the group found the additional coating improved battery performance in terms of rate capability and cycle stability.
‘Our study provides the direct observation on the electrochemical behaviour, volume expansion, as well as the lithium dendrite growth of lithium metal anodes,’ said Professor Hyun-Wook Lee, team leader at UNIST. ‘Applying this in real batteries will also help contribute to the commercialisation of lithium metal batteries.’