Lithium fiber growth on the anode in a nanowire lithium ion battery during charging

Jianyu Huang's picture

Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 183107 (2011), doi:10.1063/1.3585655

Lithium (Li) dendrite formation has been recognized as one of the major safety concerns for Li metal batteries but not for conventional Li ion batteries (LIBs) where Li metal is not used. With the advanced in situ transmission electron microscopy enabling direct observation of battery operation, we found that Li fibers with length up to 35 um grew on nanowire tip after charging. The Li fibers growth were highly directional, i.e., nucleating from the nanowire tip, and extending along the nanowire axis, which was attributed to the strong electric field enhancement effect induced by the sharp nanowire tip. This study reveals a potential safety concern of short-circuit failure for LIBs using nanowire anodes.