Brushing thin films onto electrodes preserves batteries

Scanning electron microscope images show a sequence of lithium foils treated by scientists at Rice University. Brushing metal powder into lithium anodes for rechargeable batteries can prevent the formation of damaging dendrites. The scale bars represent 100 microns. Credit: The Tour Group

A bit of brushing may be the secret to making better rechargeable lithium batteries.

The Rice University lab of chemist James Tour introduced a technique to tune the surface of anodes for batteries by simply brushing powders into them. The powder adheres to the anode and becomes a thin, lithiated coating that effectively prevents the formation of damaging dendrites.

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