Time for a post for any non-organometallic folks...(although I may not get any responses!)
We are looking at cyclic voltammograms of cathode materials for lithium ion batteries and working in a typical electrolyte, 1M LiClO4 in propylene carbonate. This electrolyte is hygroscopic, so we make up the solutions and store them in a glove box.
However, we are doing some spectroelectrochemistry outside of the box in an open cuvette that is also serving as our electrochemical cell. My question is this: since it is sort of a pain to put this under a nitrogen atmosphere during the experiment, I have been working with an open system, figuring I would worry about it if I saw any evidence of a problem with electrolyte degradation. We always use fresh electrolyte and it is never exposed to the atmosphere for more than several hours.
I am assuming that the evidence of "a problem" would be some new peaks in the CV that crop up due to some new species in the electrolyte or a significant change in our electrochemical window. So far, we haven't seen any evidence of either of these. Can anyone think of any other signals that we should watch for that would indicate a problem with our electrolyte. It would be really nice if we could continue to work without having to put the whole thing under an N2 blanket.