Controlling electrochemical growth of metallic zinc electrodes: Toward affordable rechargeable energy storage systems

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Science Advances  06 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabe0219
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe0219


Scalable approaches for precisely manipulating the growth of crystals are of broad-based science and technological interest. New research interests have reemerged in a subgroup of these phenomena—electrochemical growth of metals in battery anodes. In this Review, the geometry of the building blocks and their mode of assembly are defined as key descriptors to categorize deposition morphologies. To control Zn electrodeposit morphology, we consider fundamental electrokinetic principles and the associated critical issues. It is found that the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) formed on Zn has a similarly strong influence as for alkali metals at low current regimes, characterized by a moss-like morphology. Another key conclusion is that the unique crystal structure of Zn, featuring high anisotropy facets resulting from the hexagonal close-packed lattice with a c/a ratio of 1.85, imposes predominant influences on its growth. In our view, precisely regulating the SEI and the crystallographic features of the Zn offers exciting opportunities that will drive transformative progress.

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