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Title: Designing electrolytes with polymerlike glass-forming properties and fast ion transport at low temperatures

In the presence of Lewis acid salts, the cyclic ether, dioxolane (DOL), is known to undergo ring-opening polymerization inside electrochemical cells to form solid-state polymer batteries with good interfacial charge-transport properties. Here we report that LiNO3, which is unable to ring-open DOL, possesses a previously unknown ability to coordinate with and strain DOL molecules in bulk liquids, completely arresting their crystallization. The strained DOL electrolytes exhibit physical properties analogous to amorphous polymers, including a prominent glass transition, elevated moduli, and low activation entropy for ion transport, but manifest unusually high, liquidlike ionic conductivities (e.g., 1 mS/cm) at temperatures as low as −50 °C. Systematic electrochemical studies reveal that the electrolytes also promote reversible cycling of Li metal anodes with high Coulombic efficiency (CE) on both conventional planar substrates (1 mAh/cm2over 1,000 cycles with 99.1% CE; 3 mAh/cm2over 300 cycles with 99.2% CE) and unconventional, nonplanar/three-dimensional (3D) substrates (10 mAh/cm2over 100 cycles with 99.3% CE). Our finding that LiNO3promotes reversibility of Li metal electrodes in liquid DOL electrolytes by a physical mechanism provides a possible solution to a long-standing puzzle in the field about the versatility of LiNO3salt additives for enhancing reversibility of Li metal electrodes in essentially any aprotic liquid more » electrolyte solvent. As a first step toward understanding practical benefits of these findings, we create functional Li||lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in which LFP cathodes with high capacity (5 to 10 mAh/cm2) are paired with thin (50 μm) lithium metal anodes, and investigate their galvanostatic electrochemical cycling behaviors.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 26053-26060
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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