Lithium dendrite growth is a fundamental problem in energy storage and both poses a significant safety hazard and limits the lifetime of battery cells. In order to study the dynamics of dendrite growth, a series of experiments were carried out by the Hoffman group at Caltech.
These experiments showed that applying a pulsed square wave voltage inhibits the formation of lithium dendrites. Building on this work, I developed a computational model for dendrite growth which identifies the formation of ionic concentration gradients as the mechanism for the inhibition. The formation time of these ionic concentration gradients is shown to correspond to the optimal width of the charging pulses.
1. Dynamics of lithium dendrite growth and inhibition: Pulse charging experiments and Monte Carlo calculations. JPC Letters, (2014).
2. Theoretical pulse charge for the optimal inhibition of growing dendrites. MRS Advances, (2018).