Sun, F.; Zielke, L.; Markötter, H.; Hilger, A.; Zhou, D.; Moroni, R.; Zengerle, R.; Thiele, S.; Banhart, J.; Manke, I.: Morphological evolution of electrochemically plated/stripped lithium microstructures by synchrotron X-ray phase contrast tomography. ACS Nano 10 (2016), p. 7990-7997
Open Accesn Version

Due to its low redox potential and high theoretical specific capacity, Li metal has drawn worldwide research attention because of its potential use in next-generation battery technologies such as Li–S and Li–O2. Unfortunately, uncontrollable growth of Li microstructures (LmSs, e.g., dendrites, fibers) during electrochemical Li stripping/plating has prevented their practical commercialization. Despite various strategies proposed to mitigate LmS nucleation and/or block its growth, a fundamental understanding of the underlying evolution mechanisms remains elusive. Herein, synchrotron in-line phase contrast X-ray tomography was employed to investigate the morphological evolution of electrochemically deposited/dissolved LmSs nondestructively. We present a 3D characterization of electrochemically stripped Li electrodes with regard to electrochemically plated LmSs. We clarify fundamentally the origin of the porous lithium interface growing into Li electrodes. Moreover, cleavage of the separator caused by growing LmS was experimentally observed and visualized in 3D. Our systematic investigation provides fundamental insights into LmS evolution and enables us to understand the evolution mechanisms in Li electrodes more profoundly.