Zhu, Yisi; Connell, Justin; Tepavcevic, Sanja; Zapol, Peter; Garcia-Mendez, Regina; Taylor, Nathan; Sakamoto, Jeff; Ingram, Brian; Curtiss, Larry; Freeland, John; Fong, Dillon; Markovic, Nenad
Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO) garnet-based materials doped with Al, Nb or Ta to stabilize the Li+-conductive cubic phase are a particularly promising class of solid electrolytes for all-solid-state lithium metal batteries. Understanding of the intrinsic reactivity between solid electrolytes and relevant electrode materials is crucial to developing high voltage solid-state batteries with long lifetimes. Using a novel, surface science-based approach to characterize the intrinsic reactivity of the Li-solid electrolyte interface, we determine that, surprisingly, some degree of Zr reduction takes place for all three dopant types, with the extent of reduction increasing as Ta < Nb < Al. Significant reduction of Nb also takes place for Nb-doped LLZO, with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) of Li||Nb-LLZO||Li symmetric cells further revealing significant increases in impedance with time and suggesting that the Nb reduction propagates into the bulk. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that Nb-doped material shows a strong preference for Nb dopants towards the interface between LLZO and Li, while Ta does not exhibit a similar preference. EIS and DFT results, coupled with the observed reduction of Zr at the interface, are consistent with the formation of an “oxygen-deficient interphase” (ODI) layer whose structure determines the stability of the LLZO-Li interface.