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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 21, 2024
  2. Solid polymer and perovskite-type ceramic electrolytes have both shown promise in advancing solid-state lithium metal batteries. Despite their favorable interfacial stability against lithium metal, polymer electrolytes face issues due to their low ionic conductivity and poor mechanical strength. Highly conductive and mechanically robust ceramics, on the other hand, cannot physically remain in contact with redox-active particles that expand and contract during charge-discharge cycles unless excessive pressures are used. To overcome the disadvantages of each material, polymer-ceramic composites can be formed; however, depletion interactions will always lead to aggregation of the ceramic particles if a homopolymer above its melting temperature is used. In this study, we incorporate Li 0.33 La 0.56 TiO 3 (LLTO) nanoparticles into a block copolymer, polystyrene- b -poly (ethylene oxide) (SEO), to develop a polymer-composite electrolyte (SEO-LLTO). TEMs of the same nanoparticles in polyethylene oxide (PEO) show highly aggregated particles whereas a significant fraction of the nanoparticles are dispersed within the PEO-rich lamellae of the SEO-LLTO electrolyte. We use synchrotron hard x-ray microtomography to study the cell failure and interfacial stability of SEO-LLTO in cycled lithium-lithium symmetric cells. Three-dimensional tomograms reveal the formation of large globular lithium structures in the vicinity of the LLTO aggregates. Encasing the SEO-LLTO between layers of SEO to form a “sandwich” electrolyte, we prevent direct contact of LLTO with lithium metal, which allows for the passage of seven-fold higher current densities without signatures of lithium deposition around LLTO. We posit that eliminating particle clustering and direct contact of LLTO and lithium metal through dry processing techniques is crucial to enabling composite electrolytes. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 2, 2024
  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract

    Antiperovskite structure compounds (X3AB, where X is an alkali cation and A and B are anions) have the potential for highly correlated motion between the cation and a cluster anion on the A or B site. This so‐called “paddle‐wheel” mechanism may be the basis for enhanced cation mobility in solid electrolytes. Through combined experiments and modeling, the first instance of a double paddle‐wheel mechanism, leading to fast sodium ion conduction in the antiperovskite Na3−xO1−x(NH2)x(BH4), is shown. As the concentration of amide (NH2) cluster anions is increased, large positive deviations in ionic conductivity above that predicted from a vacancy diffusion model are observed. Using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, powder X‐ray diffraction, synchrotron X‐ray diffraction, neutron diffraction, ab initio molecular dynamics simulations, and NMR, the cluster anion rotational dynamics are characterized and it is found that cation mobility is influenced by the rotation of both NH2and BH4species, resulting in sodium ion conductivity a factor of 102higher atx = 1 than expected for the vacancy mechanism alone. Generalization of this phenomenon to other compounds could accelerate fast ion conductor exploration and design.

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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Lithium metal is a high-energy-density battery electrode material, but the largely irreversible growth of lithium protrusions on an initially planar electrode during cycling makes it unsuitable for incorporation into a commercial battery. In this study, a lithium electrode with globular protrusions was stripped electrochemically, and the local morphology of the electrode as a function of time was determined by hard X-ray tomography. We demonstrate that globules are preferentially stripped compared to a planar electrode in our system, which incorporates a nanostructured block copolymer electrolyte. We report current density at the electrode as a function of micron-scale position and time. The local current density during the electrode healing process calculated from a reference frame at the electrode/electrolyte interface provides insight into the driving forces responsible for selective stripping of the globule. These results imply the possibility of discharging protocols that may return a lithium electrode to its initial planar state.

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