Role of Polysulfide Anions in Solid-Electrolyte Interphase Formation at the Lithium Metal Surface in Li-S Batteries. Academic Article uri icon


  • Delineating intricate interactions between highly reactive Li-metal electrodes and the diverse constituents of battery electrolytes has been a long-standing scientific challenge in materials design for advanced energy storage devices. Here, we isolated lithium polysulfide anions (LiS4-) from an electrolyte solution based on their mass-to-charge ratio and deposited them on Li-metal electrodes under clean vacuum conditions using ion soft landing (ISL), a highly controlled interface preparation technique. The molecular level precision in the construction of these model interfaces with ISL, coupled with in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and ab initio theoretical calculations, allowed us to obtain unprecedented insight into the parasitic reactions of well-defined polysulfides on Li-metal electrodes. Our study revealed that the oxide-rich surface layer, which is amenable to direct electron exchange, drives multielectron sulfur oxidation (S0 S6+) processes. Our results have substantial implications for the rational design of future Li-S batteries with improved efficiency and durability.

published proceedings

  • J Phys Chem Lett

altmetric score

  • 53

author list (cited authors)

  • Hankins, K., Prabhakaran, V., Wi, S., Shutthanandan, V., Johnson, G. E., Roy, S., ... Murugesan, V.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Hankins, Kie||Prabhakaran, Venkateshkumar||Wi, Sungun||Shutthanandan, Vaithiyalingam||Johnson, Grant E||Roy, Swadipta||Wang, Hui||Shao, Yuyan||Thevuthasan, Suntharampillai||Balbuena, Perla B||Mueller, Karl T||Murugesan, Vijayakumar

publication date

  • January 2021