Talks and Poster Presentations (without Proceedings-Entry):

M. Romio:
"Advanced Investigation of the Electrolyte-Mg Anode Interphase for the Development of Mg-Ion Batteries";
Talk: 242nd ECS Fall Meeting, 2022-10-09 - 2022-10-13.

Magnesium-ion batteries (MIBs) represent a promising chemistry to potentially substitute lithium-ion technologies in the e-mobility and stationary energy storage applications. This is due to the favourable properties of metallic Mg, such as: abundancy, non-toxic nature, high recycling rate1, low redox potential (-2.37 vs SHE), safety (smooth Mg2+ electrodeposition), as well as divalent character of Mg2+ cations which leads to higher theoretical volumetric capacity (3833 mAh/cm3) than Li (2046 mAh/cm3) and commercial graphite (760 mAh/cm3).2 However, the major obstacle in the further development of MIBs is the incompatibility of Mg metal anode with conventional electrolyte solutions, which are formed by mixing simple Mg-based salts (e.g Mg(TFSI)2, Mg(ClO4)2, etc.) and polar aprotic solvents (e.g. acetonitrile, carbonates, etc.). These solutions decompose at the surface of metallic Mg forming an electronic and ionic insulating layer, leading to the passivation of the Mg anode and poor performance of the overall cell. Conversely, organoborate (Mg-tetrakis(hexafluorosisopropyloxy)borate in monoglyme, MgBOR)3 or organoaluminate (1:2 AlCl3:PhMgCl in THF, APC)4 ethereal solutions are known to prevent the passivation of the Mg metal anode, allowing the reversible electrochemical Mg2+ electrodeposition onto its surface. Despite a great effort has been done in the development of MIB,5 very little is known about the formation, evolution and degradation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formed at the interface between metallic Mg and electrolyte. This work, therefore, aims to investigate the interactions between Mg metal and passivating (Mg(TFSI)2 in monoglyme:diglyme) and non-passivating (MgBOR and APC) electrolytes combining ex-situ and in-situ spectroscopic and microscopic techniques with electrochemical testing. The properties of the SEIs will be evaluated at different states of charge (ex-situ) and during cell cycling (in-situ). Raman, Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron (XPS) spectroscopies are used to identify the composition of the electrolyte interphases, as well as monitor their changes upon cell discharge-charge cycles. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is performed to analyse the interphase morphologies, whereas scanning microwave microscopy (SMM)6,7 locally probes the impedance of the SEI layer. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is also employed to evaluate the roughness of the Mg metal electrodes. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and galvanostatic cycling with potential limitation (GCPL) are carried out in order to determine the electrochemical performance of bare Mg metal or covered with SEI layers. Furthermore, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) is employed to probe the Mg2+ diffusion coefficients through the SEI layers at different state of charge (e.g. open circuit voltage, etc.) and determine charge transfer evolution with cycling time of the Mg metal anode. As the first step, a successful polishing method was developed to remove the native oxide layer form the surface of Mg discs allowing to expose a bare Mg metal to the electrolyte solutions and to evaluate their interactions. The polishing method also enabled to perform SMM imaging of the Mg metal since a roughness between 1-2.5 Ám was achieved. The Mg discs were then immersed in the electrolyte solutions and an initial deposition of interfacial species (few nanometre thickness) was observed by SEM when Mg(TFSI)2 in monoglyme:diglyme was used, whereas a smooth surface was detected with MgBOR and APC electrolytes. This resulted in different electrochemical behaviours. In fact, symmetric cells (Mg||Mg) with MgBOR electrolyte showed a significantly higher cycling stability (> 250 h) than those with Mg(TFSI)2 in monoglyme:diglyme solution. In addition, when the latter electrolyte was used, fluorinated by-products were identified by XPS. In order to study the SEI formation and growth further, in-situ spectroscopic techniques (e.g. Raman and SMM) were employed to establish a correlation between the chemical composition of the electrolyte, the voltage range of the electrochemical tests and cycling time. In particular, the SMM method was applied to MIB technologies for the first time in this work.

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