Perspective—Lithium Metal Nucleation and Growth on Conductive Substrates: A Multi-Scale Understanding from Atomistic, Nano-, Meso-, to Micro-Scales

Boryann Liaw, Gorakh Pawar, Ying Shirley Meng, Chengcheng Fang, and Bingyu Lu

November 2022 - Reversible lithium (Li) deposition and stripping on conductive substrates like copper is vital for long-life high-energy rechargeable Li batteries. The reversibility is believed hindered by solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation and Li dendritic growth. Via in situ, operando cryo-microscopy and molecular dynamics simulation, we discovered amorphous Li before a disorder-order phase transition to bcc phase. The kinetics plays a significant role in Li nucleation and morphology evolution. This perspective on Li nucleation and growth from atomistic to nano- (<20 nm), meso- (20–100 nm), and micro-scales (>100 nm) provides a practical guidance on regulating dense Li deposits reversibly for long life performance.

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