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In Situ Study of Lithiation and Delithiation of MoS2 Nanosheets Using Electrochemical Liquid Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy

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posted on 12.08.2015, 00:00 by Zhiyuan Zeng, Xiaowei Zhang, Karen Bustillo, Kaiyang Niu, Christoph Gammer, Jun Xu, Haimei Zheng
We report the observation of lithiation/delithiation of MoS2 nanosheets in a LiPF6/EC/DEC commercial electrolyte for the application of lithium-ion batteries using electrochemical liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Upon discharge in a voltage range of 1.8–1.2 V, MoS2 on the Ti electrode underwent irreversible decomposition resulting in fragmentation of the MoS2 nanosheets into 5–10 nm MoS2 nanoparticles. Repeated experiments also show that some MoS2 nanosheets do not decompose upon lithiation. Instead, lithiation induced structural expansion and deformation has been observed. A solid–electrolyte interface (SEI) was formed on the anode side of the Ti electrode in contact with Li metal. The SEI layer is composed of LiF nanocrystals distributed within the entire layer with the constituent elements C, O, and F. However, no passivation film was observed on the cathode side of the Ti electrode with MoS2 nanosheets on it. Such an in situ electrochemical liquid cell TEM study sheds light on battery degradation mechanisms.