Understanding the Degradation of a Model Si Anode in a Li-Ion Battery at the Atomic Scale

Kim, S.-H. and Dong, K. and Zhao, H. and El-Zoka, A.A. and Zhou, X. and Woods, E.V. and Giuliani, F. and Manke, I. and Raabe, D. and Gault, B.

Volume: 13 Pages: 8416-8421
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.2c02236
Published: 2022

To advance the understanding of the degradation of the liquid electrolyte and Si electrode, and their interface, we exploit the latest developments in cryo-atom probe tomography. We evidence Si anode corrosion from the decomposition of the Li salt before charge-discharge cycles even begin. Volume shrinkage during delithiation leads to the development of nanograins from recrystallization in regions left amorphous by the lithiation. The newly created grain boundaries facilitate pulverization of nanoscale Si fragments, and one is found floating in the electrolyte. P is segregated to these grain boundaries, which confirms the decomposition of the electrolyte. As structural defects are bound to assist the nucleation of Li-rich phases in subsequent lithiations and accelerate the electrolyte's decomposition, these insights into the developed nanoscale microstructure interacting with the electrolyte contribute to understanding the self-catalyzed/accelerated degradation Si anodes and can inform new battery designs unaffected by these life-limiting factors. © 2022 American Chemical Society.

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