Performances of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are closely related to the control of solid-electrolyte interface (SEI) stability. To decrease the capacity losses linked to the build-up of this interface or potentially reverse such losses, electrolyte formulations have been continuously optimized over years to evaluate how they affect SEI. However, direct molecular characterization of the diverse interphases remains extremely challenging. Herein, we report the molecular imaging of SEI components formed on graphite electrodes by laser desorption ionization (LDI) coupled to ultrahigh-resolution Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR MS). By exploiting the surface analysis offered by LDI combined with the molecular formula attributions provided by the FT-ICR MS, it is possible to unambiguously identify/exclude suspected molecules in the SEI such as lithium ethylene dicarbonate and lithium ethylene mono carbonate. Moreover, thousands of unknown species were observed, which could be exploited for further understanding of the surface composition. We believe this methodology to be a critical advance for the design of high-performance LiBs.
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