A series of hybrid electrolytes composed of diglyme and ionic liquids (ILs) have been investigated for Na–O2 batteries, as a strategy to control the growth and purity of the discharge products during battery operation. The dependence of chemical composition of the ILs on the size, purity, and distribution of the discharge products has been evaluated using a wide range of experimental and spectroscopic techniques. The morphology and composition of the discharge products found in the Na–O2 cells have a complex dependence on the physicochemical properties of the electrolyte as well as the speciation of the Na+ and superoxide radical anion. All of these factors control the nucleation and growth phenomena as well as electrolyte stability. Smaller discharge particle sizes and largely homogeneous (2.7 ± 0.5 μm) sodium superoxide (NaO2) crystals with only 9% of side products were found in the hybrid electrolyte containing the pyrrolidinium IL with a linear alkyl chain. The long-term cyclability of Na–O2 batteries with high Coulombic efficiency (>90%) was obtained for this electrolyte with fewer side products (20 cycles at 0.5 mA h cm–2). In contrast, rapid failure was observed with the use of the phosphonium-based electrolyte, which strongly stabilizes the superoxide anion. A high discharge capacity (4.46 mA h cm–2) was obtained for the hybrid electrolyte containing the pyrrolidinium-based IL bearing a linear alkyl chain with a slightly lower value (3.11 mA h cm–2) being obtained when the hybrid electrolyte contained similar pyrrolidinium-based IL bearing an alkoxy chain.
- Na solvation
- NaO growth mechanism
- Na−O battery
- diglyme/ionic liquid hybrid electrolyte