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This shows the reaction mechanism for converting hydrogen fluoride (HF) impurity from the electrolyte into lithium fluoride (LiF) in the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) with release of hydrogen gas (H2). The SEI layer is shown on a substrate of gold (Au) atoms, which serves as a simplified model system. Scientists determined this mechanism using advanced computational methods (density functional theory and molecular dynamics simulations). (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

Scientists discovered battery’s hidden layer

The lithium-ion battery is workhorse power source in many applications. But how do its charging and discharging cycles happen, is still remains a mystery? In...