Elucidating mechanisms of Li plating on Li anodes of lithium-based batteries Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Elsevier Ltd Lithium metal is known as a very promising anode material for lithium-based batteries possessing a quite high theoretical capacity. But it has been kept away from practical applications due to its extreme reactivity and potential safety hazards led by serious dendrite growth. The origins of dendrite formation may be associated with the mechanisms of Li plating and with the mode of charge transfer during Li reduction or oxidation at the anode-electrolyte interface. Here, density functional theory (DFT) calculations are conducted to analyze the electron transfer between Li (100) and Li cations located in the proximity of the surface in several simulation models. The study includes two common used solvents: ethylene carbonate and dimethoxyethane (EC and DME), and a LiPF 6 salt, that surround the Li cation over perfect, defect-containing, and Li 2 CO 3 -passivated Li (100) surfaces. Our calculations demonstrate that the Li cation is easily reduced when bonding to DME rather than EC and its preferred deposition site is the hollow site on both perfect and defective Li (100). Additionally, a compact Li 2 CO 3 layer inhibits the charge transfer from Li metal to Li cations, thus modifying Li plating. It is concluded that the extreme reactivity of the Li metal surface induces a strongly inhomogeneous electron distribution upon deposition of a cation on the surface. This strong charge inhomogeneity may promote uneven Li nucleation and growth, eventually resulting in dendritic behavior.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Qin, X., Shao, M., & Balbuena, P. B.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Qin, Xueping||Shao, Minhua||Balbuena, Perla B

publication date

  • January 2018