Investigating Li Microstructure Formation on Li Anodes for Lithium Batteries by in Situ 6Li/7Li NMR and SEM

Hee Jung Chang, Nicole M. Trease, Andrew J. Ilott, Dongli Zeng, Lin Shu Du, Alexej Jerschow, Clare P. Grey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth of lithium microstructures during battery cycling has, to date, prohibited the use of Li metal anodes and raises serious safety concerns even in conventional lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, particularly if they are charged at high rates. The electrochemical conditions under which these Li microstructures grow have, therefore, been investigated by in situ nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and susceptibility calculations. Lithium metal symmetric bag cells containing LiPF6 in EC/DMC electrolytes were used. Distinct 7Li NMR resonances were observed due to the Li metal bulk electrodes and microstructures, the changes in peak positions and intensities being monitored in situ during Li deposition. The changes in the NMR spectra, observed as a function of separator thickness and porosity (using Celgard and Whatmann glass microfiber membranes) and different applied pressures, were correlated with changes in the type of microstructure, by using SEM. Isotopically enriched 6Li metal electrodes were used against natural abundance predominantly 7Li metal counter electrodes to investigate radiofrequency (rf) field penetration into the Li anode and to confirm the assignment of the higher frequency peak to Li dendrites. The conclusions were supported by calculations performed to explore the effect of the different microstructures on peak position/broadening, the study showing that Li NMR spectroscopy can be used as a sensitive probe of both the amount and type of microstructure formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16443-16451
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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