Small and light batteries are worth their weight in gold.  So why can’t we create it?

On the one hand, it may seem that obtaining such batteries is not difficult, because they can be found, for example, in watches. Unfortunately, there’s a hitch: It’s difficult to assess when the components that make up these batteries are damaged. In an effort to better understand the source of complications related to certain types of batteries, scientists have used a technologically advanced laser. They now write about the conclusions drawn on the basis of the experiments conducted iScience.

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The goal of their research was to explain why lithium-metal batteries are more susceptible to damage than lithium-ion batteries. So they first freeze them and then cut them with a laser. Although the first type of battery can be made smaller, making it smaller in size and weight, it will not be of much use if it is easily damaged with subsequent charging cycles.

Lithium metal batteries can be miniaturized, but are limited by their high fire risk and rapid deterioration

One explanation suggested that lithium would trigger the formation of spines called dendrites. They will be responsible for damage to the separator and fires. However, when the battery was frozen and photographed, it turned out that the lithium reacted with the liquid electrolyte, eventually tearing the separator apart from the inside. The observations made may be crucial to the design of batteries that will be smaller, lighter and at the same time free from fire hazards.

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However, if these limitations can be overcome, it will be possible to use lithium metal batteries in much smaller structures. As observations under the electron microscope have shown, an important role is played by the so-called interphase SEI, which either completely prevents the movement of lithium or limits its passage between two electrodes. In the first case, the battery life is limited, in the second the risk of fire increases.

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