Lithium ion battery usage has grown significantly in recent years. To obtain the best from the li-ion battery technology, it is important to understand both advantages and the limitations from the fundamental point of view. In lithium-ion batteries, layer structured graphite is the most commonly used anode material and NMC is one of the modern choices of cathode materials for high capacity Li-ion batteries in the electric vehicle applications [1,2,3].
During the first charging process, the electrochemical reduction of electrolyte components gets deposited on the surface of anode resulting solid electrolyte interface (SEI) layer formation [4,5,6]. It is widely accepted that the batteries benefit from a proper SEI formation, as it can improve their lifetime, cycle life, power capability and safety .
Morphological structure of SEI layer formed on HOPG and cathode electrolyte interface (CEI) layer formed on NMC plays an important role in lithium-ion battery (LIB), particularly for its cyclability and safety. For the development of high-performance LIB's, it is crucial to understand the SEI layer formation on anode side  and the less studied corresponding layer formed on cathode side termed as CEI, whose composition and role are debated .
Microscopic techniques, which include scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are the most powerful tools to measure the electric current and surface topography [10,11]. Within this work, we present in-situ electrochemical atomic force microscopic (EC-AFM) studies of surface reaction and topographic evolution of SEI and CEI layers formed on HOPG and NMC811 substrates. EC-AFM morphological analysis is also complemented with XPS (X-ray Photoemission Spectroscopy) characterisation for elemental composition, which brings a new insight in the comparison of SEI/CEI decomposition products.
This work is partially supported by Faraday Institution (EP/S003053/1) and North-East Centre of Energy Materials-NECEM (EP/R021503/1) funded by EPSRC.
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