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CBE Graduate Student YingYing Lu Publishes on Lithium Dendrites in Advanced Materials

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yingying Lu, a second-year Ph.D. candidate in the Archer group, recently published a paper titled “Ionic liquid-nanoparticle hybrid electrolytes and their application in secondary lithium-metal batteries (LMBs)” in Advanced Materials. The article reports that suspensions of ionic-liquid functionalized nanoparticles (see figure) in high-dielectric constant liquid hosts manifest tunable transport properties, attractive electrochemical stability, and ability to retard growth of lithium dendrites in high-energy rechargeable lithium metal batteries (LMBs) (see Figure), which employ metallic lithium Li as the anode. The dendrite suppression ability of the electrolytes is discussed within the framework of a polarization model for dendrite growth. Based on the premise that local electric field-induced violation of electroneutrality in an electrolyte produces a space charge region near the electrode/electrolyte interface in a battery, the model contends that dendrites are driven by an instability in the  electrodeposition front at the interface. By introducing a source of anions in the electrolytes, the ionic-liquid functionalized particles are thought to suppress the space charge and reduce the rate at which dendrites grow and propagate in a battery. Yingying further showed that the nanoparticle hybrid electrolytes are suitable for applications in both high-energy, Li/MoS2 and high-power, Li/TiO2 secondary batteries.

The work was recently highlighted in Nature Materials
(www.nature.com/nmat/journal/v11/n9/full/nmat3419.html) and opens up the way to rechargeable batteries that offer energy storage capacities that are an order of magnitude above current lithium ion batteries.

To read the full article in Advanced Materials: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201201953/full

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