Operando NMR characterization of a metal-air battery using a double-compartment cell design

Original article: Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Volume 113, June 2021, 101731

Authors: Magali Gauthier, Minh Hoang Nguyen,1 Lucie Blondeau, Eddy Foy, Alan Wong


Applying operando investigations is becoming essential for acquiring fundamental insights into the reaction mechanisms and phenomena at stake in batteries currently under development. The capability of a real-time characterization of the charge/discharge electrochemical pathways and the reactivity of the electrolyte is critical to decipher the underlying chemistries and improve the battery performance. Yet, adapting operando techniques for new chemistries such as metal-oxygen (i.e. metal-air) batteries introduces challenges in the cell design due notably to the requirements of an oxygen gas supply at the cathode. Herein a simple operando cell is presented with a two-compartment cylindrical cell design for NMR spectroscopy. The design is discussed and evaluated. Operando 7Li static NMR characterization on a Li–O2 battery was performed as a proof-of-concept. The productions of Li2O2, mossy Li/Li dendrites and other irreversible parasitic lithium compounds were captured in the charge/discharge processes, demonstrating the capability of tracking the evolution of the anodic and cathodic chemistry in metal-oxygen batteries.

1Current Address: Institut de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse IS2M – UMR CNRS 7361 – UHA, 15, Rue Jean Starcky, 68057 Mulhouse CEDEX, France