"Capturing the swelling of solid-electrolyte interphase in lithium metal batteries"

Zewen Zhang: Yuzhang Li, Rong Xu, Weijiang Zhou, Yanbin Li, Solomon T. Oyakhire, Yecun Wu, Jinwei Xu, Hansen Wang, Zhiao Yu, David T. Boyle, William Huang, Yusheng Ye, Hao Chen,Jiayu Wan, Zhenan Bao, Wah Chiu, Yi Cui; Science, 01/06/22.

Additional Authors: Yuzhang Li, Rong Xu, Weijiang Zhou, Yanbin Li, Solomon T. Oyakhire, Yecun Wu, Jinwei Xu, Hansen Wang, Zhiao Yu, David T. Boyle, William Huang, Yusheng Ye, Hao Chen,Jiayu Wan, Zhenan Bao, Wah Chiu, Yi Cui

Abstract:

Although liquid-solid interfaces are foundational in broad areas of science, characterizing this delicate interface remains inherently difficult because of shortcomings in existing tools to access liquid and solid phases simultaneously at the nanoscale. This leads to substantial gaps in our understanding of the structure and chemistry of key interfaces in battery systems. We adopt and modify a thin film vitrification method to preserve the sensitive yet critical interfaces in batteries at native liquid electrolyte environments to enable cryo–electron microscopy and spectroscopy. We report substantial swelling of the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) on lithium metal anode in various electrolytes. The swelling behavior is dependent on electrolyte chemistry and is highly correlated to battery performance. Higher degrees of SEI swelling tend to exhibit poor electrochemical cycling.