Analytical Techniques Used to Study the Solid Electrolyte Interface of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Literature seminar abstract

Lithium ion batteries (LIB) have applications throughout our society from portable electronics to grid storage.  When a LIB is charged, the change in voltage is so great that the electrolyte of the battery undergoes parasitic reactions, forming a solid electrolyte interface (SEI) on the anode surface.1 Altering the SEI composition, which can be done by altering the electrolyte, dramatically impacts the lifetime of the battery.2 Studying the SEI is difficult as the SEI is an air and water sensitive thin film composed of a heterogeneous mixture of inorganic and organic species.3  X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) are two techniques used to study the SEI of LIBs.2,4,5 XPS provides the relative abundance of the different chemical environments for different elements but freedom in data interpretation can lead to development of imprecise and subjective conclusions.  While mass fragments from TOF-SIMS can be attributed to different species in the SEI, variability in procedure and primary beam can affect the damage endured by the sample as well as the results.  Studying the SEI of LIBs is pivotal to creating the next generation of LIBs and understanding the results gathered from the techniques is the first objective.


(1)      Goodenough, J. B. J. Solid State Electrochem. 2012, 16 (6), 2019–2029.

(2)      Schroder, K.; Alvarado, J.; Yersak, T. A.; Li, J.; Dudney, N.; Webb, L. J.; Meng, Y. S.; Stevenson, K. J.

(3)      An, S. J.; Li, J.; Daniel, C.; Mohanty, D.; Nagpure, S.; Wood, D. L. Carbon N. Y. 2016, 105, 52–76.

(4)      Nakai, H.; Kubota, T.; Kita, A.; Kawashima, A. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2011, 158 (7), A798.

(5)      Etacheri, V.; Haik, O.; Goffer, Y.; Roberts, G. A.; Stefan, I. C.; Fasching, R.; Aurbach, D. Langmuir 2012, 28 (1), 965–976.

Division(s): Analytical

Speaker: Nathan Gimble

Speaker Institution: Colorado State University

Event Date: 08-30-2017

Event Time: 4:00 PM

Event Location: Chemistry A101

Mixer Time: 3:45 PM

Mixer Location: Chemistry B101E

Host: A. Prieto