In-situ investigation of lithium dendrite growth and its interactions with a polymer separator in a lithium metal cell

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Lithium dendrites are metallic structures that initiate and grow inside a lithium battery duringcharging. Lithium dendrite growth can negatively affect battery cycle life and safety. Observing the dendrite growth process and revealing its interaction with other components is necessary to improve battery safety. This study uses a transparent optical cell to directly observe the dendrite growth process, explore the lithium dendrite growth modes under various current densities, evaluate the interactions between the dendrite and separator, and explore the effect of electrolyte additives on dendrite growth behavior. The dendrite growth under different current densities showed the transition of dendrite morphologies from a dense structure to a porous structure. The examination of the dendrite-separator interaction regions showed that dendrites can deform and penetrate the separator. We show that additives can enhance the uniformity of lithium dendrite distribution compared with the dendrite formed in the electrolyte without additives.