Surface Properties of Battery Materials Elucidated Using Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy: The Case of Type I Silicon Clathrate

Tsvetan Tarnev, Patrick Wilde, Andrew Dopilka, Wolfgang Schuhmann, Candace K. Chan, Edgar Ventosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Silicon clathrates have attracted interest as potential anodes for lithium-ion batteries with unique framework structures. However, very little is known about the surface reactivity and solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) properties of clathrates. In this study, operando scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) is used to investigate the effect of pre-treatment on the formation dynamics and intrinsic properties of the SEI in electrodes prepared from type I Ba8Al16Si30 silicon clathrates. Although X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis does not reveal large changes in SEI composition, it is found through SECM measurements that ball-milling combined with chemical acid/base etching of the clathrates lead to a more stable and rapidly formed SEI as compared to purely ball-milled samples, resulting in enhanced coulombic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • battery material
  • lithium-ion batteries
  • operando SECM
  • silicon clathrate
  • solid electrolyte interphase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Electrochemistry

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