Can a Coating Mitigate Molten Na Dendrite Growth in NaSICON Under High Current Density?

Ryan C. Hill, Amanda S. Peretti, Adam M. Maraschky, Leo J. Small, Erik D. Spoerke, Yang Tse Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Alkali metals are among the most desirable negative electrodes for long duration energy storage due to their extremely high capacities. Currently, only high-temperature (>250 °C) batteries have successfully used alkali electrodes in commercial applications, due to limitations imposed by solid electrolytes, such as low conductivity at moderate temperatures and susceptibility to dendrites. Toward enabling the next generation of grid-scale, long duration batteries, we aim to develop molten sodium (Na) systems that operate with commercially attractive performance metrics including high current density (>100 mA cm-2), low temperature (<200 °C), and long discharge times (>12 h). In this work, we focus on the performance of NaSICON solid electrolytes in sodium symmetric cells at 110 °C. Specifically, we use a tin (Sn) coating on NaSICON to reduce interfacial resistance by a factor of 10, enabling molten Na symmetric cell operation with “discharge” durations up to 23 h at 100 mA cm-2 and 110 °C. Unidirectional galvanostatic testing shows a 70% overpotential reduction, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) highlights the reduction in interfacial resistance due to the Sn coating. Detailed scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) show that Sn-coated NaSICON enables current densities of up to 500 mA cm-2 at 110 °C by suppressing dendrite formation at the plating interface (Mode I). This analysis also provides a mechanistic understanding of dendrite formation at current densities up to 1000 mA cm-2, highlighting the importance of effective coatings that will enable advanced battery technologies for long-term energy storage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-819
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 22 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 American Chemical Society.


  • critical current density
  • dendrite
  • Sn coating
  • sodium batteries
  • solid electrolyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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