The formation of passive films on electrodes due to electrolyte decomposition significantly affects the reversibility of Li-ion batteries (LIBs); however, understanding of the electrolyte decomposition process is still lacking. The decomposition products of ethylene carbonate (EC)-based electrolytes on Sn and Ni electrodes are investigated in this study by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The reference compounds, diethyl 2,5-dioxahexane dicarboxylate (DEDOHC) and polyethylene carbonate (poly-EC), were synthesized, and their chemical structures were characterized by FTIR spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Assignment of the vibration frequencies of these compounds was assisted by quantum chemical (Hartree-Fock) calculations. The effect of Li-ion solvation on the FTIR spectra was studied by introducing the synthesized reference compounds into the electrolyte. EC decomposition products formed on Sn and Ni electrodes were identified as DEDOHC and poly-EC by matching the features of surface species formed on the electrodes with reference spectra. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of accounting for the solvation effect in FTIR analysis of the decomposition products forming on LIB electrodes. © 2014 American Chemical Society.