Advanced strategies for the development of porous carbon as a Li host/current collector for lithium metal batteries

Rajesh Pathak, Ke Chen, Fan Wu, Anil U. Mane, Ratnakumar V. Bugga, Jeffrey W. Elam, Quinn Qiao, Yue Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Lithium metal is considered a promising anode material for high-energy-density rechargeable batteries because of its high specific theoretical capacity (3860 mAh g−1), low mass density (0.534 g cm−3), and low electrochemical redox potential (-3.04 V vs. the standard hydrogen electrode). However, the high reactivity of Li with the electrolyte leads to the formation of an unstable solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) and continuous side reactions. Also, the non-uniform lithium-ion flux and infinite volume expansion of Li metal cause the growth of Li dendrites. These pose significant safety challenges and cause rapid capacity fading of the lithium metal batteries (LiMBs). To resolve these issues, a low-cost, easily processed, lightweight, high-performance carbon-based porous matrix is considered promising to host Li metal deposition. The three-dimensional (3D) porous nano/microstructured carbon provides sufficient space for Li accommodation during Li plating, buffers the volume changes during Li plating/stripping, and lowers the effective current density contributing to dendrite-free Li deposition. Besides, the outstanding electrochemical and mechanical stability, flexibility and the high electronic conductivity enable the nano/microstructured carbon to serve as both Li host and current collector. The development of 3D carbon/Li composite by mechanical roll-press techniques not only eliminates the complex and risky procedure of making carbon/Li composite based on Li plating or molten Li infusion but also stabilizes the capacity at higher Li plating/stripping rates. Recently, there is an advancement in the lithiophilic decorations of 3D structure to introduce sufficient nucleation sites and the development of artificial SEI on top of the 3D matrix to suppress Li dendrite formation. Such 3D structural modifications create a uniform electric field, lower the Li nucleation overpotential, provide strong mechanical and chemical stability, and stabilize the interface thereby inhibiting the degradation of lithium and the electrolyte. In this review, we summarize the research progress on porous carbon/Li composites in terms of materials type, structure, fabrication technique, their electrochemical battery performance, and identify the critical challenges that need to be addressed for high-energy-density practical LiMBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-465
Number of pages18
JournalEnergy Storage Materials
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • High-energy-density
  • Lithium metal anode
  • Lithium metal batteries
  • Lithium-host/current collector
  • Porous carbon/Li composite
  • Solid-electrolyte-interphase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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