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Sci Rep. 2012;2:715. doi: 10.1038/srep00715. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

In situ ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies of lithium-oxygen redox reactions.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA.


The lack of fundamental understanding of the oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution in nonaqueous electrolytes significantly hinders the development of rechargeable lithium-air batteries. Here we employ a solid-state Li(4+x)Ti(5)O(12)/LiPON/Li(x)V(2)O(5) cell and examine in situ the chemistry of Li-O(2) reaction products on Li(x)V(2)O(5) as a function of applied voltage under ultra high vacuum (UHV) and at 500 mtorr of oxygen pressure using ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS). Under UHV, lithium intercalated into Li(x)V(2)O(5) while molecular oxygen was reduced to form lithium peroxide on Li(x)V(2)O(5) in the presence of oxygen upon discharge. Interestingly, the oxidation of Li(2)O(2) began at much lower overpotentials (~240 mV) than the charge overpotentials of conventional Li-O(2) cells with aprotic electrolytes (~1000 mV). Our study provides the first evidence of reversible lithium peroxide formation and decomposition in situ on an oxide surface using a solid-state cell, and new insights into the reaction mechanism of Li-O(2) chemistry.

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