Project Innovation + Advantages:
The team at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has developed a method to determine the mechanical properties of lithium as a function of size, temperature, and microstructure. The body of scientific knowledge on these properties and the way dendrites form and grow is very limited, in part due to the reactivity of metallic lithium with components of air such as water and carbon dioxide. The team proposes to conduct a targeted investigation on the properties of electrodeposited lithium metal in commercial thin-film solid-state batteries. As part of the effort, the team will perform structural and mechanical testing on electrodeposited lithium, at dendrite-relevant dimensions. Their investigation will provide new information on the microstructure, strength, and stiffness of electrodeposited lithium. Finally, they will conduct cycling experiments on the commercial cells to observe lithium transport and dendrite nucleation and growth. If successful, the project will result in new knowledge about the microstructure and properties of lithium, and may further our understanding of dendrite nucleation and growth mechanisms - a starting point to developing higher energy battery technologies.