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Existence of Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Mg Batteries: Mg/S Chemistry as an Example

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journal contribution
posted on 05.04.2018, 00:00 by Tao Gao, Singyuk Hou, Khue Huynh, Fei Wang, Nico Eidson, Xiulin Fan, Fudong Han, Chao Luo, Minglei Mao, Xiaogang Li, Chunsheng Wang
Magnesium redox chemistry is a very appealing “beyond Li ion chemistry” for realizing high energy density batteries due to the high capacity, low reduction potential, and most importantly, highly reversible and dendrite-free Mg metal anode. However, the progress of rechargeable Mg batteries has been greatly hindered by shortage of electrolytes with wide stability window, high ionic conductivity, and good compatibility with cathode materials. Unlike solid electrolyte interphase on Li metal anode, surface film formed by electrolyte decomposition in Mg batteries was considered to block Mg ion transport and passivate Mg electrode. For this reason, the attention of the community has been mainly focusing on surface layer free electrolytes, while reductively unstable salts/solvents are barely considered, despite many of them possessing all the necessary properties for good electrolytes. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate that the surface film formed by electrolyte decomposition can function as a solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). Using Mg/S chemistry as a model system, the SEI formation mechanism on Mg metal anode was thoroughly examined using electrochemical methods and surface chemistry characterization techniques such as EDX and XPS. On the basis of these results, a comprehensive view of the Mg/electrolyte interface that unifies both the SEI mechanism and the passivation layer mechanism is proposed. This new picture of surface layer on Mg metal anode in Mg batteries not only revolutionizes current understanding of Mg/electrolyte interface but also opens new avenues for electrolyte development by uncovering the potential of those reductively unstable candidates through interface design.

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