The maximum discharge capacity in non-aqueous Li-O2 batteries has been limited to a fraction of its theoretical value, largely due to a conformal deposition of Li2O2 on the cathode surface. However, it has recently been established that additives that increase the shielding of either O2− or Li+ will activate the formation of toroidal shaped Li2O2, thereby dramatically increasing cell capacity. Here we apply porous electrode theory to electrochemical impedance measured at the Li-O2 cathode to investigate changes in the surface- and ionic resistance within the pores under conditions where either the surface-mechanism or the solution-mechanism is favored. Our experimental observations show that (i) an additional charge transfer process is observed in the impedance spectrum where the solution-based mechanism is favored; (ii) that the changes in the ionic resistance in the cathode during discharge (related to Li2O2 build up) is much greater in cells where the solution-based mechanism is activated and can qualitatively determine the extent of discharge product deposited within the pores of the cathode versus the deposition extent at the electrode/electrolyte interface; and (iii) that the observed “sudden-death” during discharge is a consequence of the increasing charge transfer resistance regardless of whether Li2O2 forms predominantly through either the surface- or solution-based mechanism.
Bibliographical note© The Author(s) 2016. Published by ECS. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (CC BY, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse of the work in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
- Oxygen reduction
- Pore clogging