A closed-host bi-layer dense/porous solid electrolyte interphase for enhanced lithium-metal anode stability

Corey M.Efaw, Bingy Lu, Yuxiao Lin, Gorakh M. Pawar, Parameswara R. Chinnam, Michael F. Hurley, Eric J. Dufek, Ying Shirley Meng, Bin Li

May 2021 - Thanks to its high specific capacity and low electrochemical potential, lithium metal is an ideal anode for next-generation high-energy batteries. However, the unstable heterogeneous surface of lithium gives rise to safety and efficiency concerns that prevent it from being utilized in practical applications. In this work, the formation of a closed-host bi-layer solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) improves the stability of lithium metal anode. This is successfully realized by forming an interconnected porous LiF-rich artificial SEI in contact with Li metal, and a dense, stable in-situ formed upper layer SEI. The porous layer increases the number of Li/LiF interfaces, which reduces local volume fluctuations and improves Li+ diffusion along these interfaces. Additionally, the tortuous porous structure guides uniform Li+ flux distribution and mechanically suppresses dendrite propagation. The dense upper layer of the SEI accomplishes a closed-host design, preventing continuous consumption of active materials. The duality of a dense top layer with porous bottom layer led to extended cycle life and improved rate performance, evidenced with symmetric cell testing, as well as full cell testing paired with sulfur and LiFePO4 (LFP) cathodes. This work is a good example of a rational design of the SEI, based on comprehensive consideration of various critical factors to improve Li-metal anode stability, and highlights a new pathway to improve cycling and rate performances of Li metal batteries.

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