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The Cathode Surface Composition of a Cycled Li–O2 Battery: A Photoelectron Spectroscopy Study

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journal contribution
posted on 04.10.2012, 00:00 by Reza Younesi, Sigita Urbonaite, Kristina Edström, Maria Hahlin
A layer of reaction products, dominantly built up of C and O in the form of ethers and lithium alkyl carbonates, is formed on the surface of the carbon cathode during discharge of a Li–O2 battery in an electrolyte of 1 M LiPF6 in PC. The results are based on a detailed surface analysis combining the use of in house X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and synchrotron based hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES). The Li–O2 batteries were investigated at uncycled state (stored), after the first discharge, after the first charge, and at the end of life (discharge state). The results showed little to no Li2O2 and/or Li2O among the discharge products. The surface layers on the cathode were dominantly removed during charging of the battery. At the end of battery life, no complete discharge product layer is formed. The cathodes showed a strong indication of binder decomposition during cycling of the Li–O2 cell. Overall, the results obtained in this investigation show that the whole cathode formulation as well as the electrolyte composition need a completely new approach for the realization of a recyclable Li–O2 battery.