Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2021, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 2007058.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202007058

Special Issue: Lithium Metal Anodes

• ARTICLE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Columnar Lithium Metal Deposits: the Role of Non-Aqueous Electrolyte Additive

Shijie Yang1,3, Xiangqun Xu2, Xinbing Cheng2,*(), Xinmeng Wang2,4, Jinxiu Chen2,5, Ye Xiao1,3, Hong Yuan1,3,*(), He Liu1,3, Aibing Chen4, Wancheng Zhu5, Jiaqi Huang1,3, Qiang Zhang2   

  1. 1 School of Materials Science & Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
    2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Green Chemical Reaction Engineering and Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    3 Advanced Research Institute of Multidisciplinary Science, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
    4 College of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Hebei University of Science and Technology, Shijiazhuang 050018, China
    5 School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Qufu Normal University, Qufu 273165, Shandong Province, China
  • Received:2020-07-23 Accepted:2020-08-31 Published:2020-09-04
  • Contact: Xinbing Cheng,Hong Yuan;
  • About author:Yuan Hong. E-mail:
    Cheng Xinbing.
  • Supported by:
    the National Key Research and Development Program of China(2016YFA0202500);the National Key Research and Development Program of China(2016YFA0200102);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21805161);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21808124);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(U1932220)


With the booming growth market of electric vehicles and portable electronics, high-energy-density rechargeable lithium ion batteries are being extensively used to advance high-end devices. Lithium-ion batteries with graphite anodes approach the ceiling in energy density, but they cannot satisfy the current demand. Among the next-generation electrodes, lithium metal anodes are strong candidates because of their high theoretical capacity and the most negative electrochemical potential. However, lithium metal batteries have been abandoned because of their poor safety resulting from the growth of lithium dendrites during lithium deposition. Although several strategies have been proposed to suppress the generation of lithium dendrites as well as the side reactions between active lithium and the electrolyte, lithium metal anodes have not been practically applied so far. Various studies have been conducted on the factors influencing lithium deposition, with the aim of understanding the growth behavior of lithium dendrites. The electrolyte plays a crucial role in the performance of the working Li metal anode. In this study, a unique battery system is proposed to realize columnar lithium deposition, which is convenient for obtaining the length and diameter of lithium deposits. The influence of different electrolytes on lithium deposition was investigated by comparing the length-diameter (L/D) ratio of the lithium deposits in two kinds of electrolytes (1.0 mol·L-1 LiPF6-ethylene carbonate/diethyl carbonate (EC/DEC, 1 : 1 by volume) and 1.0 mol·L-1 LiPF6-5% (volume fraction) fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC)-EC/DEC (1 : 1 by volume)). The morphology of the lithium deposits was strongly affected by the electrolyte composition. In the electrolyte with the FEC additive, the diameter of columnar lithium increased from 0.3-0.6 μm to 0.7-1.3 μm, while the L/D ratio decreased from 12.5 to 5.6. The small L/D ratio can reduce the reactive area between the lithium metal anode and the electrolyte, which is beneficial for achieving high lithium utilization and a long lifespan. To probe the origin of this influence, the surface chemistry of the cycled lithium metal anode was investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The FEC additive can increase the proportion of lithium fluoride (LiF) in the solid electrolyte interphase, which is conducive for the rapid diffusion of lithium ions. As a result, fewer nucleation sites are formed, providing more space for the growth of lithium cores with a large diameter. Therefore, the addition of FEC leads to a decrease in the L/D ratio of columnar lithium.

Key words: Lithium metal battery, Columnar lithium, Electrolyte, Lithium fluoride, Length-diameter ratio