Data-Driven Insight into the Reductive Stability of Ion–Solvent Complexes in Lithium Battery Electrolytes
Yu-Chen Gao, Nan Yao, Xiang Chen, Legeng Yu, Rui Zhang, and Qiang Zhang
Lithium (Li) metal batteries (LMBs) are regarded as one of the most promising energy storage systems due to their ultrahigh theoretical energy density. However, the high reactivity of the Li anodes leads to the decomposition of the electrolytes, presenting a huge impediment to the practical application of LMBs. The routine trial-and-error methods are inefficient in designing highly stable solvent molecules for the Li metal anode. Herein, a data-driven approach is proposed to probe the origin of the reductive stability of solvents and accelerate the molecular design for advanced electrolytes. A large database of potential solvent molecules is first constructed using a graph theory-based algorithm and then comprehensively investigated by both first-principles calculations and machine learning (ML) methods. The reductive stability of 99% of the electrolytes decreases under the dominance of ion–solvent complexes, according to the analysis of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO). The LUMO energy level is related to the binding energy, bond length, and orbital ratio factors. An interpretable ML method based on Shapley additive explanations identifies the dipole moment and molecular radius as the most critical descriptors affecting the reductive stability of coordinated solvents. This work not only affords fruitful data-driven insight into the ion–solvent chemistry but also unveils the critical molecular descriptors in regulating the solvent’s reductive stability, which accelerates the rational design of advanced electrolyte molecules for next-generation Li batteries.