Thin (≤20 μm) and free-standing Li metal foils would enable precise prelithiation of anode materials and high-energy-density Li batteries. Existing Li metal foils are too thick (typically 50 to 750 μm) or too mechanically fragile for these applications. Here, we developed a facile and scalable process for the synthesis of an ultrathin (0.5 to 20 μm), free-standing and mechanically robust Li metal foil within a graphene oxide host. In addition to low areal capacities of ~0.1 to 3.7 mAh cm−2, this Li foil also has a much-improved mechanical strength over conventional pure Li metal foil. Our Li foil can improve the initial Coulombic efficiency of graphite (93%) and silicon (79.4%) anodes to around 100% without generating excessive Li residue, and increases the capacity of Li-ion full cells by 8%. The cycle life of Li metal full cells is prolonged by nine times using this thin Li composite anode.
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Part of this work was performed at the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities and Stanford Nanofabrication Facility, supported by the National Science Foundation under award ECCS-2026822. Fabrication of the ultrathin Li metal foils and the Li-metal-anode-based full cell applications are funded by Murata Manufacturing. Utilizing the ultrathin Li metal foils to prelithiate the graphite and silicon anode was supported by the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Vehicle Technologies of the US Department of Energy under the Battery Materials Research programme. Y.C. acknowledges the 20-μm-thick pure Li metal foils provided from Hydro-Québec company.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Energy thanks Boštjan Genorio, Tianyou Zhai and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Supplementary Figs. 1–18, Table 1, Note 1 and refs. 1–3.
Flexibility test of ultrathin GO film.
USER reaction on GO film.
Controllable calendaring on porous eGF film.
Edge-contact molten Li infusion into eGF host.
Flexibility test of ultrathin Li@eGF foil.
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Chen, H., Yang, Y., Boyle, D.T. et al. Free-standing ultrathin lithium metal–graphene oxide host foils with controllable thickness for lithium batteries. Nat Energy 6, 790–798 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-021-00833-6