Decomposition of the fluoroethylene carbonate additive and the glue effect of lithium fluoride products for the solid electrolyte interphase: an ab initio study†
Additives in the electrolyte solution of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have a large impact on the performance of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) that forms on the anode and is a key to the stability and durability of LIBs. We theoretically investigated effects of fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC), a representative additive, that has recently attracted considerable attention for the enhancement of cycling stability of silicon electrodes and the improvement of reversibility of sodium-ion batteries. First, we intensively examined the reductive decompositions by ring-opening, hydrogen fluoride (HF) elimination to form a vinylene carbonate (VC) additive and intermolecular chemical reactions of FEC in the ethylene carbonate (EC) electrolyte, by using density functional theory (DFT) based molecular dynamics and the blue-moon ensemble technique for the free energy profile. The results show that the most plausible product of the FEC reductive decomposition is lithium fluoride (LiF), and that the reactivity of FEC to anion radicals is found to be inert compared to the VC additive. We also investigated the effects of the generated LiF on the SEI by using two model systems; (1) LiF molecules distributed in a model aggregate of organic SEI film components (SFCs) and (2) a LiF aggregate interfaced with the SFC aggregate. DFT calculations of the former system show that F atoms form strong bindings with the Li atoms of multiple organic SFC molecules and play as a joint connecting them. In the latter interface system, the LiF aggregate adsorbs the organic SFCs through the F–Li bindings. These results suggest that LiF moieties play the role of glue in the organic SFC within the SEI film. We also examined the interface structure between a LiF aggregate and a lithiated silicon anode, and found that they are strongly bound. This strong binding is likely to be related to the effectiveness of the FEC additive in the electrolyte for the silicon anode.