Improvement of the Cycling Performance of Aluminum Anodes through Operando Light Microscopy and Kinetic Analysis

Tianye Zheng, Dominik Kramer, Mohammad H. Tahmasebi, Reiner Mönig, Steven T. Boles

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aluminum is an attractive anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) owing to its low cost, light weight, and high specific capacity. However, utilization of Al-based anodes is significantly limited by drastic capacity fading during cycling. Herein, a systematic study is performed to investigate the kinetics of electrochemical lithiation of Al thin films to understand the mechanisms governing the phase transformation, by using an operando light microscopy platform. Operando videos reveal that nuclei appear at random positions and expand to form quasi-circular patches that grow and merge until the phase transformation is complete. Based on this direct evidence, models of the lithiation processes in Al anodes are discussed and reaction-controlled kinetics are suggested. The growth rate of LiAl depends on the potential and increases considerably as higher overpotentials are approached. Lastly, improved cycling performance of Al-based anodes can be realized by two approaches: 1) by controlling the lithiation extent, the cycling life of Al thin film is extended from 5 cycles to 25 cycles; 2) the performance can be optimized by adjusting the kinetics. Together, this work offers a renewed promise for the commercialization of Al-based anodes in LIBs where the performance requirements are compatible with the proposed cycle life-extending strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-985
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020


  • aluminum
  • batteries
  • electrode materials
  • kinetics
  • lithium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)

Cite this