Nanoscale morphological changes at lithium interface, triggered by the electrolyte composition and electrochemical cycling
Understanding the electrochemical and morphological properties of the Li-electrolyte interface plays a central role in the implementation of metallic Li in safe and efficient electrochemical energy storage. +e current study explores the influence of soluble polysulfides (PS) and lithium nitrate (LiNO3) on the characteristics of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer, formed spontaneously on the Li surface, prior to electrochemical cycling. Special attention is paid to the evolution of the electrochemical impedance and nanoscale morphology of the interface, influenced by the contact time and electrolyte composition. +e basic tools applied in this investigation are electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) performed at the nanoscale, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). +e individual addition of polysulfides and LiNO3 increases the interface resistance, while the simultaneous application of these components is beneficial, reducing the SEI resistive behavior. +e electrochemical cycling of Li in nonmodified 1,2-dimethoxy ethane (DME) and tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether (TEGDME) based electrolytes leads to slight morphological changes, compared to the pristine Li pattern. In contrast, we found that in the presence of PS and LiNO3, the interface displays a rough and inhomogeneous morphology.