‘Anode-free’ batteries present a significant advantage due to their substantially higher energy density and ease of assembly in a dry air atmosphere. However, potential safety issues due to lithium (Li) dendrite growth rather than smooth Li metal plating on the Cu current collector, and low cycling coulombic efficiency during their operation are delaying their practical implementation. To understand the interplay between Cu surface chemistry and the morphology of the plated Li, we studied the SEI formation on Cu and the preferential plating of Li using ssNMR, insitu NMR, XPS, ToF-SIMS, SEM and EIS.
A native interphase layer (N-SEI) is formed instantaneously on copper current collectors upon their immersion in LiPF6-based electrolyte. The nature of the N-SEI is affected by the copper interface composition, homogeneity and formation time. In addition to the typical SEI components, it contains CuxO and its reaction products. Parasitic semi-reversible electrochemical reactions were observed with in-situ NMR measurements of Li plating efficiency during the first five cycles. The morphology of the plated lithium is affected by the SEI homogeneity, current density and rest time in the electrolyte before the plating. The preferential plating of Li is governed by the distribution of ionic conducting compounds rather than electronic conducting compounds.
InstitutionUniversity of Cambridge
ORCID For Submitting Authorhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3612-4542
Declaration of Conflict of Interestno conflict of interest