Over time, these tentacle-like dendrites can pierce the battery's electrolyte core and reach the cathode, causing the battery to fail. That problem has mostly stopped the use of lithium metal in commercial applications.
Lithium metal charges much faster and holds about 10 times more energy by volume than the lithium-ion electrodes commonly used today.
The tangled-nanotube film effectively quenched dendrites over 580 charge/discharge cycles of a test battery with a sulfurized-carbon cathode the lab developed in previous experiments. The researchers reported the full lithium metal cells retained 99.8 percent of their coulombic efficiency, the measure of how well electrons move within an electrochemical system.