Researchers from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST) Sergey Luchkin, Svetlana Lipovskikh, Natalia Katorova, Aleksandra Savina, Artem Abakumov, and Keith J. Stevenson visualized formation of Solid Electrolyte Interface (SEI) on a battery grade carbonaceous electrode materials using in situ Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The results were published in Scientific Reports (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65552-6).
Solid Electrolyte Interface is a thin layer of electrolyte reduction products formed on the battery anode surface during several initial cycles. The SEI formation process is time and energy consuming part of the battery production process. Its quality largely governs battery performance and durability. Poorly formed SEI results in rapid degradation of battery performance.
In situ AFM allows direct observation of SEI formation, which may help to optimize the formation protocol and build a high quality SEI. Until now most of such measurements were carried out on Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) which possess clean and atomically flat basal plane surface. However, it does not represent surface of the battery grade electrode materials, and the HOPG SEI formation does not represent its formation inside commercial battery.
Skoltech scientists succeeded in visualization of SEI formation on battery grade materials, which may help to further improve battery performance and durability.
Read full press release here: https://www.skoltech.ru/en/2020/05/skoltech-scientists-get-a-sneak-peek-of-a-key-process-in-battery-life/