The Critical Role of Fluoroethylene Carbonate in the Gassing of Silicon Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries

The use of functionalized electrolytes is effective in mitigating the poor cycling stability of silicon (Si), which has long hindered the implementation of this promising high-capacity anode material in next-generation lithium-ion batteries. In this Letter, we present a comparative study of gaseous byproducts formed by decomposition of fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC)-containing and FEC-free electrolytes using differential electrochemical mass spectrometry and infrared spectroscopy, combined with long-term cycling data of half-cells (Si vs Li). The evolving gaseous species depend strongly on the type of electrolyte; the main products for the FEC-based electrolyte are H2 and CO2, while the FEC-free electrolyte shows predominantly H2, C2H4, and CO. The characteristic shape of the evolution patterns suggests different reactivities of the various LixSi alloys, depending on the cell potential. The data acquired for long-term cycling confirm the benefit of using FEC as cosolvent in the electrolyte.