Research Article


In situ observation of electrochemical Ostwald ripening during sodium deposition

Lin Geng1,§, Qiunan Liu1,§, Jingzhao Chen1, Peng Jia1, Hongjun Ye1, Jitong Yan1,3, Liqiang Zhang1 (✉), Yongfu Tang1,3 (✉), and Jianyu Huang1,2 (✉)

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1 Clean Nano Energy Center, State Key Laboratory of Metastable Materials Science and Technology, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao 066004, China
2 Key Laboratory of Low Dimensional Materials and Application Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan 411105, China
3 Hebei Key Laboratory of Applied Chemistry, College of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao 066004, China

Keywords: in situ, Na deposition, electrochemical Ostwald ripening (EOR), Na nanocrystals
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  • Abstract
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Sodium (Na) metal batteries (SMBs) using Na anode are potential “beyond lithium” electrochemical technology for future energy storage applications. However, uncontrollable Na dendrite growth has plagued the application of SMBs. Understanding Na deposition mechanisms, particularly the early stage of Na deposition kinetics, is critical to enable the SMBs. In this context, we conducted in situ observations of the early stage of electrochemical Na deposition. We revealed an important electrochemical Ostwald ripening (EOR) phenomenon which dictated the early stage of Na deposition. Namely, small Na nanocrystals were nucleated randomly, which then grew. During growth, smaller Na nanocrystals were contained by bigger ones via EOR. We observed two types of EOR with one involving only electrochemical reaction driven by electrochemical potential difference between bigger and smaller nanocrystals; while the other being dominated by mass transport governed by surface energy minimization. The results provide new understanding to the Na deposition mechanism, which may be useful for the development of SMB for energy storage applications.
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In situ observation of electrochemical Ostwald ripening during sodium deposition. Nano Res.

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