About this Research Topic
The performance of portable electronics and the electrification of vehicles to reduce petroleum consumption are currently limited by the energy density, life span and safety of lithium-ion batteries. Replacing carbonaceous electrodes with lithium metal could theoretically deliver >10 times larger anode specific capacity, potentially maximizing the energy density of lithium batteries. However, the major hurdle to practical implementation of lithium metal batteries is the lack of a feasible electrolyte design to inhibit lithium dendrite growth upon galvanostatic charging/discharging.
Solid-state electrolytes, including inorganic and polymeric prototypes are promising for the practical use of lithium metal anodes. However, a single type of solid-state electrolyte seems incapable of addressing the issue alone. Inorganic ceramics and glasses have high moduli that are sufficiently robust to retard Li dendrite growth. They are, on the other hand, too brittle for future mass roll-to-roll membrane production. Polymer electrolytes have higher formability, but their transport properties are inferior to inorganics. Therefore, the interest in developing inorganic-polymer composites to address the weaknesses of single-phase solid electrolytes is growing rapidly.
When bringing inorganics and polymers in intimate contact to form composite electrolytes, several fundamental questions arise, such as:
a. How do Li+ cations and anions transport across the electrode/composite interface, and the inorganic/polymer interface?
b. How to extend the electrochemical stability window of the composite electrolytes to stabilize both the Li metal/electrolyte and the high-voltage cathode/electrolyte interfaces?
c. How to characterize the composite electrolyte/electrode interfacial reaction and dynamics?
d. How to optimize the organic/polymer composition and processing method to reach high ionic conductivity and reasonable mechanical robustness, especially at room temperature?
e. What possible new structural designs, for both electrodes and composite electrolytes, will be able to accommodate practical, large-format battery pack manufacturing, maintaining increased cell cycle life and safety?
In this context, the purpose of this Research Topic is to provide new insights to address the immediate challenges of inorganic-polymer electrolyte development. The Topic Editors hope to inspire researchers to contribute their original research as well as insightful perspectives related to solid state and polymeric inorganic composite electrolytes for next-generation lithium metal-based batteries.
Keywords: solid-state electrolyte, lithium metal battery, polymer, inorganic, energy storage
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