Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

Combining accurate O2 and Li2O2 assays to separate discharge and charge stability limitations in nonaqueous Li-O 2 Batteries

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Li-air batteries have generated enormous interest as potential high specific energy alternatives to existing energy storage devices. However, Li-air batteries suffer from poor rechargeability caused by the instability of organic electrolytes and carbon cathodes. To understand and address this poor rechargeability, it is essential to elucidate the efficiency in which O 2 is converted to Li2O2 (the desired discharge product) during discharge and the efficiency in which Li2O 2 is oxidized back to O2 during charge. In this Letter, we combine many quantitative techniques, including a newly developed peroxide titration, to assign and quantify decomposition pathways occurring in cells employing a variety of solvents and cathodes. We find that Li2O 2-induced electrolyte solvent and salt instabilities account for nearly all efficiency losses upon discharge, whereas both cathode and electrolyte instabilities are observed upon charge at high potentials. © 2013 American Chemical Society.