(De)lithiation mechanism of Li/SeS(x) (x = 0-7) batteries determined by in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy

J Am Chem Soc. 2013 May 29;135(21):8047-56. doi: 10.1021/ja402597g. Epub 2013 May 15.


Electrical energy storage for transportation has gone beyond the limit of converntional lithium ion batteries currently. New material or new battery system development is an alternative approach to achieve the goal of new high-energy storage system with energy densities 5 times or more greater. A series of SeSx-carbon (x = 0-7) composite materials has been prepared and evaluated as the positive electrodes in secondary lithium cells with ether-based electrolyte. In situ synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction was utilized to investigate the crystalline phase transition during cell cycling. Complementary, in situ Se K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure analysis was used to track the evolution of the Se valence state for both crystalline and noncrystalline phases, including amorphous and electrolyte-dissolved phases in the (de)lithiation process. On the basis of these results, a mechanism for the (de)lithiation process is proposed, where Se is reduced to the polyselenides, Li2Sen (n ≥ 4), Li2Se2, and Li2Se sequentially during the lithiation and Li2Se is oxidized to Se through Li2Sen (n ≥ 4) during the delithiation. In addition, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy demonstrated the reversibility of the Li/Se system in ether-based electrolyte and the presence of side products in the carbonate-based electrolytes. For Li/SeS2 and Li/SeS7 cells, Li2Se and Li2S are the discharged products with the presence of Se only as the crystalline phase in the end of charge.