3D visualization of inhomogeneous multi-layered structure and Young's modulus of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) on silicon anodes for lithium ion batteries
The microstructure and mechanical properties of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) in non-aqueous lithium ion batteries are key issues for understanding and optimizing the electrochemical performance of lithium batteries. In this report, the three-dimensional (3D) multi-layered structures and the mechanical properties of the SEI formed on a silicon anode material for next generation lithium ion batteries have been visualized directly for the first time, through a scanning force spectroscopy method. The coverage of the SEI on silicon anodes is also obtained through 2D projection plots. The effects of temperature and the function of additives in the electrolyte on the SEI can be understood accordingly. A modified model about dynamic evolution of the SEI on the silicon anode material is also proposed, which aims to explain why the SEI is very thick and how the multi-layered structure is formed and decomposed dynamically.