"Improving cyclability of Li metal batteries at elevated temperatures and its origin revealed by cryo-electron microscopy"

Jiangyan Wang: William Huang , Allen Pei, Yuzhang Li, Feifei Shi, Xiaoyun Yu and Yi Cui; Nature Energy, 07/01/19.

Additional Authors: William Huang , Allen Pei, Yuzhang Li, Feifei Shi, Xiaoyun Yu and Yi Cui

Abstract:

Operations of lithium-ion batteries have long been limited to a narrow temperature range close to room temperature. At elevated temperatures, cycling degradation speeds up due to enhanced side reactions, especially when high-reactivity lithium metal is used as the anode. Here, we demonstrate enhanced performance in lithium metal batteries operated at elevated temperatures. In an ether-based electrolyte at 60 °C, an average Coulombic efficiency of 99.3% is obtained and more than 300 stable cycles are realized, but, at 20 °C, the Coulombic efficiency drops dramatically within 75 cycles, corresponding to an average Coulombic efficiency of 90.2%. Cryo-electron microscopy reveals a drastically different solid electrolyte interface nanostructure emerging at 60 °C, which maintains mechanical stability, inhibits continuous side reactions and guarantees good cycling stability and low electrochemical impedance. Furthermore, larger lithium particles grown at the elevated temperature reduce the electrolyte/ electrode interfacial area, which decreases the per-cycle lithium loss and enables higher Coulombic efficiencies.