Research examines evolution mechanisms of lithium metal anodes

Lithium metal is widely regarded as the "Holy Grail" of future lithium battery technology. However, the surface of lithium metal is prone to irregular evolution during the battery cycle, which will shorten battery life and cause safety hazards, posing a key challenge in this field. In-depth understanding of the polymorphic morphologies and evolution mechanism of lithium metal and its effective regulation is the only way to address this issue and is urgently needed for theory development in the field.

In a recent review article published in Chemical Reviews, a group led by the Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School (Tsinghua SIGS) Associate Prof. Cheng Yang and Prof. Feiyu Kang innovatively revealed the polymorphic evolution mechanism and regulation strategy of lithium metal anodes from the perspective of multi-physical fields.

The review first introduced and discussed the limitations of theoretical models that simulate the evolution of different forms of lithium metal. Then, it gave a systematic summary of the impact of the chemical, electrochemical and metallurgical properties of lithium metal and its solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer on the evolution and growth of irregular forms of lithium. It also summarized current research progress in delaying, inhibiting and directionally inducing irregular lithium evolution to improve the stability and safety performance of lithium metal batteries, and concluded with the challenges and directions for future development of metal anodes.

In this review article, the authors systematically analyzed the formation mechanism, influencing factors and control strategies of three different types of irregular lithium deposition morphologies in a liquid electrolyte system from the perspective of multi-physical fields (ion concentration field, electric field, stress field, and temperature field). On the basis of previous opinions, this review provides novel and profound insights for an in-depth understanding of lithium metal deposition/dissolution evolution behavior. In addition, the multi-physics classification method and related theoretical knowledge proposed in this paper are helpful for understanding the electrochemical evolution behavior of other metals, providing a guiding role for the development of high-performance metal anode batteries, and show important scientific research value.

Overview of the connection between multi-physical fields and polymorphous Li metal evolution during its entire cycle life.

A related work "Polymorph Evolution Mechanisms and Regulation Strategies of Lithium Metal Anode under Multi-physical Fields" was recently published in the international journal Chemical Reviews. Prof. Feiyu Kang and Associate Prof. Cheng Yang of Tsinghua SIGS and Prof. Huolin Xin from the University of California, Irvine, are the co-corresponding authors of this article. Dr. Peichao Zou and Yiming Sui are the first co-authors of this article.

Link to full article: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.chemrev.0c01100

Writer: Houchao Zhan

Editors: Karen Lee, Li Han

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