Reactivity of Carbon in Lithium–Oxygen Battery Positive Electrodes

Unfortunately, the practical applications of Li–O<sub>2</sub> batteries are impeded by poor rechargeability. Here, for the first time we show that superoxide radicals generated at the cathode during discharge react with carbon that contains activated double bonds or aromatics to form epoxy groups and carbonates, which limits the rechargeability of Li–O<sub>2</sub> cells. Carbon materials with a low amount of functional groups and defects demonstrate better stability thus keeping the carbon will-o’-the-wisp lit for lithium–air batteries.