In situ subtractively normalized Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (SNIFTIRS) experiments were performed simultaneously with electrochemical experiments relevant to Li-air battery operation on gold electrodes in two glyme-based electrolytes: Diglyme (DG) and tetraglyme (TEGDME), tested under different operational conditions. The results show that TEGDME is intrinsically unstable and decomposes at potentials between 3.6 and 3.9 V vs. Li+/Li even in the absence of oxygen and lithium ions, while DG shows a better stability, and only decomposes at 4.0 V vs. Li+/Li in the presence of oxygen. The addition of water to the DG based electrolyte exacerbates its decomposition, probably due to the promotion of singlet oxygen formation.
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