Chemical and electrochemical instability of the Li metal interface with organic solvent has been a major impediment to use of Li-metal anodes for next-generation batteries. Here the character of Li surface degradation and the application of atomic layer deposition (ALD) as a protection layer to suppress the degradation are addressed. Using standard Li foil samples in organic solvent with and without in situ deposited ALD Al2O3 protective layers, results from in situ atomic force microscopy, mass spectrometry (including differential electrochemical mass spectrometry), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), and ex situ scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy are reported. Despite the presence of a thin oxide/hydroxide/carbonate layer on the Li foil surface, degradation readily occurs in organic solvent, particularly at surface features such as ridges. Introduction of the ALD protective layer – deposited directly on this Li foil surface – dramatically suppresses the degradation.
- atomic force microscopy
- atomic layer deposition (ALD)
- differential electrochemical mass spectrometry (DEMS)
- Li-metal anodes
- solid electrolyte interphase (SEI)
- solvent decomposition