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Effect of zwitterion on the lithium solid electrolyte interphase in ionic liquid electrolytes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • N. Byrne
  • Patrick C. Howlett
  • Douglas R. Macfarlane
  • Mark E. Smith
  • Andrew P. Howes
  • A. F. Hollenkamp
  • T. J. Bastow
  • P. Hale
  • Maria Forsyth
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/09/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Power Sources
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)288-296
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


An understanding of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) that forms on the lithium-metal surface is essential to the further development of rechargeable lithium-metal batteries. Currently, the formation of dendrites during cycling, which can lead to catastrophic failure of the cell, has mostly halted research on these power sources. The discovery of ionic liquids as electrolytes has rekindled the possibility of safe, rechargeable, lithium-metal batteries. The current limitation of ionic liquid electrolytes, however, is that when compared with conventional non-aqueous electrolytes the device rate capability is limited. Recently, we have shown that the addition of a zwitterion such as N-methyl-N-(butyl sulfonate) pyrrolidinium resulted in enhancement of the achievable current densities by 100%. It was also found that the resistance of the SEI layer in the presence of a zwitterion is 50% lower. In this study, a detailed chemical and electrochemical analysis of the SEI that forms in both the presence and absence of a zwitterion has been conducted. Clear differences in the chemical nature and also the thickness of the SEI are observed and these may account for the enhancement of operating current densities.