Three pioneers of lithium-ion batteries shared the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry but after four decades of research, the implementation of the batteries has not been without obstacles. Lithium metal, an ideal anode material for its high energy density, was used in the earliest lithium battery prototypes. However, this design has been shelved due to insurmountable safety issues. Needle-like structures called dendrites form around the anode, leading to short circuiting and electrolyte depletion.

Now, researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, led by Chongmin Wang, have made significant strides in understanding lithium dendrite formation. Using in situ growth studies, they gained valuable insights for the development of safe lithium batteries.

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