Researchers Say a Barrier Layer Prevents Lithium Dendrite Growth in Batteries

The discovery can help with battery issues like loss of power or short-circuit


A team of researchers from the University of Surrey, the National Physical Laboratory, and the University College London have developed a unique layer between the solid-state electrolyte and the lithium metal anode, preventing unwanted electrons from entering the electrolyte and causing issues like losing power or short-circuit.

By altering the internal electron flow of the battery, the researchers addressed the issue of “lithium dendrite growth.” This problem arises when tiny pieces of lithium metal accumulate in the battery.

The intervention enhances the battery’s longevity and prevents short circuits.

This breakthrough could enhance the energy storage capacity of batteries, making them suitable for use in electric vehicles and mobile devices.

The complete research paper titled “Rectifying Interphase for Preventing Li Dendrite Propagation in Solid-State Electrolytes” has been made available in the Energy & Environmental Science journal.

Xuhui Yao, the lead author of the research paper and affiliated with both the University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory, explained that their approach involved the creation of a barrier layer that enables normal battery functioning while at the same time limiting the growth of dendrites and promoting their swift elimination.

Solid-state batteries utilize solid-state electrolytes (SSEs) instead of conventional liquid electrolytes in batteries. SSEs typically comprise ceramics or glass, offering various potential benefits over traditional batteries, such as higher energy density, improved safety by eliminating flammable liquid electrolytes, and longer lifespan.

This technology is believed to be a promising component in the energy mix required to enable the world’s transition to a net-zero future.

Yunlong Zhao, the project leader from the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory, highlighted the need for the scientific community to innovate rapidly to develop energy storage solutions that can facilitate the transition to a net-zero future in the UK and across the globe.

According to Zhao, one of the significant hurdles to overcome is the challenge of meeting the demand for electric vehicles, and this new method could prove solid-state batteries as the optimal technology for this purpose.

In March 2023, researchers at HZB found that solar cells made of metal halide perovskites achieve high efficiencies and can be produced from liquid inks with little energy input.

Researchers at Swansea University in Wales, United Kingdom, recently established a low-cost and scalable carbon ink formulation capable of unlocking the potential for manufacturing perovskite solar cells at scale.