Probing the Formation of Cathode-Electrolyte Interphase on Lithium Iron Phosphate Cathodes via Operando Mechanical Measurements

Batuhan Bal, Bertan Ozdogru, Dan Nguyen, Zheng Li, Vijayakumar Murugesan, Omer Capraz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus Citations


Interfacial instabilities in electrodes control the performance and lifetime of Li-ion batteries. While the formation of the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) on anodes has received much attention, there is still a lack of understanding the formation of the cathode-electrolyte interphase (CEI) on the cathodes. To fill this gap, we report on dynamic deformations on LiFePO4 cathodes during charge/discharge by utilizing operando digital image correlation, impedance spectroscopy, and cryo X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. LiFePO4 cathodes were cycled in either LiPF6, LiClO4, or LiTFSI-containing organic liquid electrolytes. Beyond the first cycle, Li-ion intercalation results in a nearly linear correlation between electrochemical strains and the state of (dis)-charge, regardless of the electrolyte chemistry. However, during the first charge in the LiPF6-containing electrolyte, there is a distinct irreversible positive strain evolution at the onset of anodic current rise as well as current decay at around 4.0 V. Impedance studies show an increase in surface resistance in the same potential window, suggesting the formation of CEI layers on the cathode. The chemistry of the CEI layer was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. LiF is detected in the CEI layer starting as early as 3.4 V and LixPOyFz appeared at voltages higher than 4.0 V during the first charge. Our approach offers insights into the formation mechanism of CEI layers on the cathode electrodes, which is crucial for the development of robust cathodes and electrolyte chemistries for higher-performance batteries.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)42449-42459
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number36
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-87815


  • cathode-electrolyte interphase
  • digital image correlation
  • Li-ion batteries
  • strain
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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