Multimodal quantification of degradation pathways during extreme fast charging of lithium-ion batteries

Eric McShane, Partha P. Paul, Tanvir R Tanim, Chuntian Cao, Hans-Georg Steinrück, Vivek Thampy, Stephen E. Trask, Alison R. Dunlop, Andrew N Jansen, Eric John Dufek, Michael F. Toney, Johanna L. Nelson Weker and Bryan D. McCloskey

October 2022 - Enabling fast charging of Li-ion batteries will be a key step towards realizing the technology’s full potential in electric vehicles. Currently, fast charging is limited by a variety of processes that reduce cell capacity upon extended cycling. Using a multimodal approach combining incremental capacity analysis (dQ/dV), high energy X-ray diffraction (HEXRD), and mass spectrometry titration (MST), we identify specific degradation mechanisms—including Li plating, dead LixC6 formation, Li2C2 formation, solid carbonate solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) deposition, and loss of positive electrode active material (LAMPE)—that occur during extended fast charge cycling. We find that Li plating is the major source of capacity loss in cells cycled at 6C, while non-carbonate SEI species deposition on the graphite anode is the main source of capacity loss when cycled at 4C. We also study local degradative phenomena by examining specific ~1-5 cm2 regions of the cells using HEXRD and MST. We find that plated Li is often collocated with dead LixC6, Li2C2, and solid carbonate SEI species, and these additional species cumulatively account for ~20% of the capacity lost during 6C cycling. Finally, in a cell with an anomalously high amount of LAMPE (quantified via dQ/dV), we find that regions of cathode degradation were accompanied by non-carbonate SEI products on the adjacent region of the anode. We postulate that this phenomenon arises due to crosstalk between the electrodes, wherein soluble electrolyte oxidation products formed at the delithiated cathode migrate to the graphite anode and are ultimately deposited on the graphite surface. This work demonstrates the utility of combining multiple characterization techniques to reveal a more holistic understanding of degradative phenomena that occur across multiple length scales during fast charge.

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