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Graphite Anodes for Li-Ion Batteries: An Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Investigation.

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Collauto, Alberto 
Barra, Anne-Laure 


Graphite is the most commercially successful anode material for lithium (Li)-ion batteries: its low cost, low toxicity, and high abundance make it ideally suited for use in batteries for electronic devices, electrified transportation, and grid-based storage. The physical and electrochemical properties of graphite anodes have been thoroughly characterized. However, questions remain regarding their electronic structures and whether the electrons occupy localized states on Li, delocalized states on C, or an admixture of both. In this regard, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy is an invaluable tool for characterizing the electronic states generated during electrochemical cycling as it measures the properties of the unpaired electrons in lithiated graphites. In this work, ex situ variable-temperature (10-300 K), variable-frequency (9-441 GHz) EPR was carried out to extract the g tensors and line widths and understand the effect of metallicity on the observed EPR spectra of electrochemically lithiated graphites at four different states of lithiation. We show that the increased resolution offered by EPR at high frequencies (>300 GHz) enables up to three different electron environments of axial symmetry to be observed, revealing heterogeneity within the graphite particles and the presence of hyperfine coupling to Li nuclei. Importantly, our work demonstrates the power of EPR spectroscopy to investigate the local electronic structure of graphite at different lithiation stages, paving the way for this technique as a tool for screening and investigating novel materials for use in Li-ion batteries.



40 Engineering, 4016 Materials Engineering, 34 Chemical Sciences, 3406 Physical Chemistry

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Chem Mater

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Faraday Institution (Unknown)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (835073)
T.I. and C.P.G. were supported by an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant for C.P.G. (EC H2020 835073). E.N.B. was supported by the Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via the National Productivity Interest Fund (NPIF) 2018. K.M. was supported by the Faraday Institution Degradation Project (FIRG001 and FIRG024). The Pulsed EPR measurements were performed at the Centre for Pulse EPR at Imperial College London (PEPR), supported by the EPSRC grant EP/T031425/1.