Lithium metal batteries have excellent power for future generation energy storage because this metal has a negative electrode, which is 10 times more theoretical significant capacity than the graphite electrode used in commercial Li-ion batteries. It has the most negative electrode energy among materials for making correct negative electrode and lithium batteries. 

Lithium is one of the complicated materials to manipulate, because of its internal dendrite mechanism growth. This high process is not fully understood and can cause Li-ion batteries to catch fire, short circuit and explode. When researchers know that the growth of dendrites is affected by ions move in the electrolyte, they do not understand how ion transport and inhomogeneous iconic effect. These are needle-like lithium whiskers; this forms internally electrodes battery internally. 

Imaging ion transport in an electrolyte has proved to be very promising and the present techniques have been unable to capture less ionic concentrations and ultrafast electrolyte dynamics. Researchers of Colombia University report that they have used stimulated, a technique used in biomedical studies called Raman Scattering (SRS) microscopy, to discover the mechanism behind the growth of dendrite in lithium batteries and become the first group of material scientists to observe directly in electrolytes ion transport.

They explored a lithium deposition system that corresponded to three stages such as partial depletion, no depletion, and full lithium ions depletion. They found a feedback mechanism between heterogeneity of local ionic and lithium dendrite growth. These can be surpassed by artificial electrolyte interphase in the third and second stage. The research paper is published in Nature communication online. 

Stage 2 is a complicated point in which heterogeneous Li+ depletion induces on the surface and grows from mossy lithium mode to dendrite lithium mode. In this stage, the two regions start to appear that is dendrite region and non-dendrite region. 

Martin Bazant, professor of chemical engineering and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that the smart use of Stimulated Raman Scattering microscopy is to visualize the electrolyte concentration in an operating electrode is an original breakthrough in the electrochemical system imaging. 

the study’s lead author Qian Cheng, a postdoctoral researcher in Yang’s lab says that at the time they made surface ion distribution and mitigated the ionic heterogeneity by depositing artificial robust electrolyte interface, they are able to suppress the dendrite formation. This provides them a suppress dendrite growth strategy and move on to improving the energy depth of present batteries at the time of creating future energy storage.