Jerliu, B.; Hüger, E.; Dörrer, L.; Seidlhofer, B.-K.; Steitz, R.; Horisberger, M.; Schmidt, H.: Lithium insertion into silicon electrodes studied by cyclic voltammetry and operando neutron reflectometry. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 20 (2018), p. 23480-23491
Open Accesn Version

Operando neutron reflectometry measurements were carried out to study the insertion of lithium into amorphous silicon film electrodes during cyclic voltammetry (CV) experiments at a scan rate of 0.01 mV s−1. The experiments allow mapping of regions where significant amounts of Li are incorporated/released from the electrode and correlation of the results to modifications of characteristic peaks in the CV curve. High volume changes up to 390% accompanied by corresponding modifications of the neutron scattering length density (which is a measure of the average Li fraction present in the electrode) are observed during electrochemical cycling for potentials below 0.3 V (lithiation) and above 0.2 V (delithiation), leading to a hysteretic behaviour. This is attributed to result from mechanical stress as suggested in the literature. Formation and modification of a surface layer associated with the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) were observed during cycling. Within the first lithiation cycle the SEI grows to 120 Å for potentials below 0.5 V. Afterwards a reversible and stable modification of the SEI between 70 Å (delithiated state) and 120 Å (lithiated state) takes place.