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Tailoring Electrolyte Solvation for Li Metal Batteries Cycled at Ultra-Low Temperature.

Abstract

Lithium metal batteries (LMBs) hold the promise to pushing cell level energy densities beyond 300 Wh kg-1 while operating at ultra-low temperatures (< -30°C). Batteries capable of both charging and discharging at these temperature extremes are highly desirable due to their inherent reduction of external warming requirements. Here we demonstrate that the local solvation structure of the electrolyte defines the charge-transfer behavior at ultra-low temperature, which is crucial for achieving high Li metal coulombic efficiency (CE) and avoiding dendritic growth. These insights were applied to Li metal full cells, where a high-loading 3.5 mAh cm-2 sulfurized polyacrylonitrile (SPAN) cathode was paired with a one-fold excess Li metal anode. The cell retained 84 % and 76 % of its room temperature capacity when cycled at -40 and -60 °C, respectively, which presented stable performance over 50 cycles. This work provides design criteria for ultra-low temperature LMB electrolytes, and represents a defining step for the performance of low-temperature batteries.

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