Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2021, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (2): 2008013.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202008013

Special Issue: Lithium Metal Anodes

• ARTICLE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Short Circuit of Symmetrical Li/Li Cell in Li Metal Anode Research

Danmiao Kang1,*(), Noam Hart2, Muye Xiao1,3, John P. Lemmon1   

  1. 1 National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy, Beijing 102209, China
    2 NICE America Research, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
    3 Imperial College London, London, SW72AZ, UK
  • Received:2020-08-05 Published:2020-09-09
  • Contact: Danmiao Kang
  • About author:Danmiao Kang, Email:; Tel.: +86-152-107-78965


Lithium is a promising anode material for next-generation high-energy-density rechargeable batteries owing to its high specific capacity, low density, and low electrochemical reduction potential. However, dendrite growth during cycling impedes its practical application and causes safety hazards. Extensive research has been conducted to obtain dendrite-free safe Li anodes with an extended cycle life by electrolyte or anode surface modification. In previous studies, the symmetrical Li/Li cell test was widely applied to evaluate the effect of various Li anode modification methods on the cycle stability and Li deposition overpotential. However, a general criterion has not yet been established to identify the short circuit in Li/Li cells. Some researchers have even made incorrect conclusions based on the Li/Li cycling data. The most common misjudgment is the ignorance of short circuit signals and mixing up of soft short circuit and normal potential decrease caused by electrode activation. In some studies, the fractal voltage signals were attributed to the unstable activation process of the symmetrical cell. Therefore, this study uses an in situ optical cell to demonstrate that a short circuit caused by the contact of dendrites from two opposite electrodes can cause a sudden drop in cell voltage to certain extent. According to the reversibility of the voltage, the short circuit induced by dendrite growth can be classified into unrecoverable hard short circuits and recoverable soft short circuits. Typical short circuit data were summarized and described to establish a rule to determine the different types of short circuits. The voltage profiles provide characteristic signals to distinguish between the soft short circuit, hard short circuit, and cell activation processes in symmetrical cells. Furthermore, this study provides a reference for identifying dendrite growth and cell short circuits, which is important for confirming the practical effect of different modification methods.

Key words: Li metal anode, Short-circuit, In situ cell, Dendrite, Diagnose