Designing Polymeric Interphases for Stable Lithium Metal Deposition
Reactive metals are known to electrodeposit with irregular morphological features on planar substrates. A growing body of work suggest that multiple variables: composition, mechanics, structure, ion transport properties, reductive stability, and interfacial energy of interphases, formed either spontaneously or by design on the metal electrode play important but differentiated roles in regulating these morphologies. We examine the effect of fluorinated thermoset polymer coatings on Li deposition by means of experiment and theoretical linear stability analysis. By tuning the chemistry of the polymer backbone and side chains, we investigate how physical and mechanical properties of polymeric interphases influence Li electrodeposit morphology. It is found that an interplay between elasticity and diffusivity leads to an optimum interphase thickness and that higher interfacial energy augments elastic stresses at a metal electrode to prevent out-of-plane deposition. These findings are explained using linear stability analysis of electrodeposition and provide guidelines for designing polymer interphases to stabilize metal anodes in rechargeable batteries.