We can read about how this is done and how these batteries will be used in the pages nature energy. As it turns out, the serious problem so far has been the defects at the nanoscale and the mechanical stresses that occur, which have limited the possibility of using so-called. solid electrolytes.
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As a result, there were short circuits. That’s bad news, given that these types of batteries are lightweight, flammable, energy-dense, and offer fast-charging capability. So it was very important to find the root causes of the functional problems of lithium batteries.
Even a slight dent, bend or twist of a battery can cause nanoscale problems in the materials to open up and the lithium to enter the solid electrolyte causing it to short out.
explains William Chueh, one of the authors
Lithium batteries are now subject to relatively frequent short circuits
The ceramic material, which is a source of solid electrolytes, on the one hand enables rapid transport of lithium ions and separation of two energy storage electrodes, but on the other hand, it is a gateway for the formation of cracks on their surface. This is no longer a welcome scenario.
In total, the scientists conducted more than 60 experiments and showed that the ceramic material suffers cracks, dents, and fissures on a nanoscale, many of which are less than 20 nanometers across. It is likely to form during fast charging, resulting in a situation where the lithium can penetrate inside.
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Overall, we found that the primary cause of lithium intrusion into the electrolyte is a combination of current concentration and the presence of nanoscale cracks rather than electron leakage or electrochemical reduction. These insights shed light on the mechanistic discipline of galvanoelectrochemical reactions in brittle solid electrolytes.
the authors conclude
However, before making such conclusions, they applied an electrode probe to a solid electrolyte. In this way, a miniature battery was created, the operation of which was observed using an electron microscope. When this step was complete, they used an ion beam to understand why lithium had accumulated on certain parts of the ceramic material. They noticed that when the pressure of the electrode probe was increased, which was supposed to mimic the mechanical stress in a real battery, it became more prone to short circuits.
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