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What does it mean?.. Achieving a technical breakthrough in fast-charging lithium metal batteries


Engineers report progress toward lithium metal batteries in a new Nature Energy paper , which charge as quickly as an hour. This rapid charging is thanks to lithium metal crystals that can be seeded and grown quickly and uniformly on a surprising surface.

This new approach, led by UC San Diego engineers, allows lithium metal batteries to be charged in about an hour, a speed that rivals current lithium -ion batteries. UC San Diego engineers, in collaboration with imaging researchers at the University of California, Irvine, published this Progress towards the development of fast-charging lithium metal batteries today (February 9, 2023) in the journal Nature Energy .

To grow lithium metal crystals, the researchers replaced the ubiquitous copper surfaces on the negative (anode) side of lithium metal batteries with a lithium-resistive nanocomposite surface made of lithium fluoride ( LiF ) and iron ( Fe ). ). Using this anti-lithium surface to precipitate lithium, seed crystals formed. Lithium, and from these seeds grew dense layers of lithium, even at high charge rates. The result was lithium-metal batteries with a long cycle life that could be charged quickly.

"The special nanosurface is a revelation," said Peng Liu, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and senior author of the new paper. "We challenged the conventional idea about what type of surface is needed to grow lithium crystals. The prevailing wisdom is that lithium grows best on surfaces it likes." They are lithophilic surfaces. In this work, we show that this is not always true. The substrate we use is not lithophilic. However, it provides abundant nucleation sites along with the rapid surface movement of lithium. These two factors lead to the growth of these crystals. This is considered A good example of scientific insight solving a technical problem."

A new advance led by nanoengineers at UC San Diego could remove an important barrier to the widespread use of energy-dense lithium metal batteries for applications such as electric vehicles ( EVs ) and portable electronics, while lithium metal batteries have great potential for electric vehicles and portable electronics due to their Because of their high charge density, today's lithium metal batteries must be charged very slowly in order to maintain battery performance and avoid safety issues. Slow charging is necessary to reduce the formation of lithium dendrites that destroy battery performance, which are formed when lithium ions join with electrons to form lithium crystals on the anode side of the battery. Lithium crystals build up as the battery charges, and the lithium crystals dissolve as the battery discharges.