X-Ray absorption spectroscopy of LiBF4 in propylene carbonate: a model lithium ion battery electrolyte†
Since their introduction into the commercial marketplace in 1991, lithium ion batteries have become increasingly ubiquitous in portable technology. Nevertheless, improvements to existing battery technology are necessary to expand their utility for larger-scale applications, such as electric vehicles. Advances may be realized from improvements to the liquid electrolyte; however, current understanding of the liquid structure and properties remains incomplete. X-ray absorption spectroscopy of solutions of LiBF4 in propylene carbonate (PC), interpreted using first-principles electronic structure calculations within the eXcited electron and Core Hole (XCH) approximation, yields new insight into the solvation structure of the Li+ ion in this model electrolyte. By generating linear combinations of the computed spectra of Li+-associating and free PC molecules and comparing to the experimental spectrum, we find a Li+–solvent interaction number of 4.5. This result suggests that computational models of lithium ion battery electrolytes should move beyond tetrahedral coordination structures.