Quantifying Lithium Ion Exchange in Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) on Graphite Anode Surfaces

Journal Article
Inorganics, vol. 10, iss. 5, pp. 64, 2022
Janet S. Ho, Zihua Zhu, Philip Stallworth, Steve G. Greenbaum, Sheng S. Zhang, Kang Xu
Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) has been identified as the most important and least understood component in lithium-ion batteries. Despite extensive studies in the past two decades, a few mysteries remain: what is the chemical form of and degree of mobility of Li+ in the interphase? What fraction of Li+ is permanently immobilized in the SEI, while the rest are still able to participate in the cell reactions via the ion-exchange process with Li+ in the electrolyte? This study attempted to answer, in part, these questions by using 6Li and 7Li-isotopes to label SEIs and electrolytes, and then quantifying the distribution of permanently immobilized and ion-exchangeable Li+ with solid-state NMR and ToF-SIMS. The results showed that the majority of Li+ were exchanged after one SEI formation cycle, and a complete exchange after 25 cycles. Ion exchange by diffusion based on concentration gradient in the absence of applied potential also occurred simultaneously. This knowledge will provide a foundation for not only understanding but also designing better SEIs for future battery chemistries.