The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in aprotic solvents are elementary reactions for the discharging and charging processes on the cathode of the lithium-oxygen batteries, respectively. Understanding the mechanisms of these reactions at a molecular level has now become a bottleneck that hinders the development of the battery. This short article briefly reviews recent progresses in the studies of the ORR/OER mechanism in aprotic solvents. Two reaction mechanisms, the electrochemical pathway and chemical (disproportionation) pathway, will be discussed with their contribution to the ORR process on the cathode surface. Furthermore, the origin of the OER overpotential will also be discussed. The solutions to reduce the OER overpotential are noted with development of redox mediators.
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