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Theory of the Double Layer in Water-in-Salt Electrolytes

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journal contribution
posted on 19.09.2018, 00:00 by Michael McEldrew, Zachary A. H. Goodwin, Alexei A. Kornyshev, Martin Z. Bazant
One challenge in developing the next generation of lithium-ion batteries is the replacement of organic electrolytes, which are flammable and most often contain toxic and thermally unstable lithium salts, with safer, environmentally friendly alternatives. Recently developed water-in-salt electrolytes (WiSEs), which are nonflammable, nontoxic, and also have enhanced electrochemical stability, are promising alternatives. In this work, we develop a simple modified Poisson–Fermi theory for WiSEs, which demonstrates the fine interplay between electrosorption, solvation, and ion correlations. The phenomenological parameters are extracted from molecular dynamics simulations, also performed here. The theory reproduces the WiSEs’ electrical double-layer structure with remarkable accuracy.