The Role of Electrolyte Additives on the Interfacial Chemistry and Thermal Reactivity of Si-Anode-Based Li-Ion Battery


Felix Aupperle, Natascha von Aspern, Debbie Berghus, Felix Weber, Gebrekidan Gebresilassie Eshetu, Martin Winter, Egbert Figgemeier; ACS Applied Energy Materials, August 2019, Pages A-O. doi: 10.1021/acsaem.9b01094



Silicon (Si) has gained huge attention as an anode material for next-generation high-capacity lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). However, despite its overwhelming beneficial features, its large-scale commercialization is hampered due to unavoidable challenges such as colossal volume change during (de)alloying, inherent low electronic and ionic conductivities, low Coulombic efficiency, unstable/dynamic solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), electrolyte drying and so forth. Among other strategies, the use of a fraction dose of chemical additives is hailed as the most effective, economic and scalable approach to realize Sianode-based LIBs. Functional additives can modify the nature and
chemical composition of the SEI, which in turn dictates the obtainable capacity, rate capability, Coulombic/energy efficiency, safety, and so forth of the battery system. Thus, we report a systematic and comparative investigation of various electrolyte additives, namely tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), (2-cyanoethyl)triethoxysilane (TEOSCN), vinylene carbonate (VC), fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC), and a blend of TEOSCN, VC, and FEC (i.e., VC/FEC/TEOSCN) using electrochemical analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, density functional theory calculation, and differential scanning calorimetry. The ternary mixture (FEC/VC/TEOSCN) results in a thinner SEI layer consisting of high shear modulus SEI-building species (mainly LiF). It also provides much improved thermal stability amid all tested additives, showing its potentiality to enable high capacity and safer Si-based anode LIBs. Thus, nitrile-functionalized silanes are highly promising electrolyte additives to boost the electrochemical performance and safety-induced risks of Si-based anode LIBs, emanating from the formation of a robust SEI layer.