DR Ely, RE García “Heterogeneous Nucleation and Growth of Lithium Electrodeposits on Negative Electrodes.” Journal of The Electrochemical Society. 160(4):A662-A668, 2013.
By starting from fundamental principles, the heterogeneous nucleation and growth of electrodeposited anode materials is analyzed. Thermodynamically, we show that an overpotential-controlled critical radius has to be overcome in order for dendrite formation to become energetically favorable. Kinetically, surface tension and overpotential driving forces define a critical kinetic radius above which an isolated embryo will grow and below which it will shrink. As a result, five regimes of behavior are identified: nucleation suppression regime, long incubation time regime, short incubation time regime, early growth regime, and late growth regime. In the nucleation suppression regime, embryos are thermodynamically unstable and unable to persist. For small overpotentials, below a critical overpotential, 2η○, and between the thermodynamic and kinetic critical radius, a metastable regime exists where the local electrochemically enabled Gibbs-Thomson interactions control the coarsening of the embryos, thus defining the long incubation time regime. In addition, very broad nuclei size distributions are favored. For large overpotentials, above 2η○, a short incubation time regime develops as a result of the small energy barrier and large galvanostatic driving forces. In addition, very narrow size distributions of nuclei are favored. In the early growth regime, thermodynamically and kinetically favored nuclei grow to reach an asymptotic growth velocity. Finally, in the late growth regime, morphological instabilities and localized electric fields dominate the morphology and microstructural evolution of the deposit.