The electrochemical insertion of lithium into the basal plane of highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG-(bp)) from a LiClO4/PEO solid polymer electrolyte has been examined in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) using a carefully designed electrochemical cell. On the basis of a comparison of the data obtained with those recorded for the same interfacial system in an inert gas at atmospheric pressure, it has been concluded that the electrochemical behavior observed in UHV is indeed characteristic of the Li/LiClO4(PEO)/(HOPG(bp) system and therefore not affected in any discernible way by the ultralow pressures. Coulometric analysis of cyclic voltammetry experiments showed that the charge associated with lithium intercalation is larger than that observed during subsequent deintercalation, particularly during the first few intercalation-deintercalation cycles. However, the total amount of impurities observed in Auger electron spectra of emersed HOPG(bp) surfaces following lithium intercalation was very low. This last finding is inconsistent with the presence of a film of any significant thickness on the surface, suggesting that the charge imbalance for this interface is due to kinetic hindrances during lithium deintercalation.
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