Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a new lithium metal battery that can be charged and discharged at least 6,000 times, more than any other pouch battery cell, and can be recharged in a matter of minutes.

The research not only describes a new way to make solid-state batteries with a lithium metal anode but also offers new understanding about the materials used for these potentially revolutionary batteries. The research is published in Nature Materials.

The biggest challenge in the design of these batteries is the formation of dendrites on the surface of the anode, which can cause the battery to short or even catch fire. In the new research, the team stopped dendrites from forming by using micron-sized silicon particles in the anode to constrict the lithiation reaction and facilitate homogeneous plating of a thick layer of lithium metal.

The battery retained 80% of its capacity after 6,000 cycles, outperforming other pouch cell batteries on the market today. The technology has been licensed through Harvard Office of Technology Development to Adden Energy, a Harvard spinoff company cofounded by Li and three Harvard alumni. The company has scaled up the technology to build a smartphone-sized pouch cell battery.

The research was supported by the Department of Energy Vehicle Technology Office, the Harvard Climate Change Solutions Fund, and Harvard Data Science Initiative Fund.

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