skip to main content

Title: Solid-state rigid-rod polymer composite electrolytes with nanocrystalline lithium ion pathways
A critical challenge for next-generation lithium-based batteries lies in development of electrolytes that enable thermal safety along with use of high-energy-density electrodes. We describe molecular ionic composite (MIC) electrolytes based on an aligned liquid crystalline polymer combined with ionic liquids and concentrated Li salt. This high strength (200 MPa) and non-flammable solid electrolyte possesses outstanding Li+ conductivity (1 mS·cm-1 at 25 °C) and electrochemical stability (5.6 V vs Li|Li+) while suppressing dendrite growth and exhibiting low interfacial resistance (32 Ω·cm2) and overpotentials (≤ 120 mV @ 1 mA·cm-2) during Li symmetric cell cycling. A heterogeneous salt doping process modifies a locally ordered polymer-ion assembly to incorporate an inter-grain network filled with defective LiFSI & LiBF4 nanocrystals, strongly enhancing Li+ conduction. This modular material fabrication platform shows promise for safe and high-energy-density energy storage and conversion applications, incorporating the fast transport of ceramic-like conductors with the superior flexibility of polymer electrolytes.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Dusastre, Vincent
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Single‐ion conducting polymer electrolytes are of interest for use with advanced battery electrodes such as lithium metal, but achieving sufficiently high conductivity has been challenging. In this work, a model system containing charged sites that are precisely spaced along the polymer backbone is explored. Precision sulfonated poly(4‐phenylcyclopentene) lithium salt (p5PhS‐Li) with a high degree of sulfonation (> 90%) is synthesized and blended with poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) to investigate the thermodynamic and transport properties. Melting point depression is measured via differential scanning calorimetry, ionic conductivity,κ, is determined using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and the fraction of current carried by Li+is estimated based on steady‐state current measurements. In conjunction with a density measurement, melting point depression is used to find an effective Flory–Huggins interaction parameter,χeff=   − 0.21, suggesting miscibility of the blend.κspans a large range from 2 × 10−11to 2 × 10−7S cm−1over the composition and temperature range investigated. The fraction of charge carried by lithium ions also spans a significant range from 0.12 in majority PEO blend to 0.98 in majorityp5PhS‐Li blend. This study addresses several limitations of sulfonated polystyrene and opens up the possibility of precisely controlling the spacing of other anion types.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Solid polymer electrolytes for lithium batteries promise improvements in safety and energy density if their conductivity can be increased. Nanostructured block‐copolymer electrolytes specifically have the potential to provide both good ionic conductivity and good mechanical properties. This study shows that the previously neglected nanoscale composition of the polymer electrolyte close to the electrode surface has an important effect on impedance measurements, despite its negligible extent compared to the bulk electrolyte. Using standard stainless steel blocking electrodes, the impedance of lithium salt‐doped poly(isoprene‐b‐styrene‐b‐ethylene oxide) (ISO) exhibits a marked decrease upon thermal processing of the electrolyte. In contrast, covering the electrode surface with a low molecular weight poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) brush results in higher and more reproducible conductivity values, which are insensitive to the thermal history of the device. A qualitative model of this effect is based on the hypothesis that ISO surface reconstruction at the different electrode surfaces leads to a change in the electrostatic double layer, affecting electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements. As a main result, PEO‐brush modification of electrode surfaces is beneficial for the robust electrolyte performance of PEO‐containing block‐copolymers and may be crucial for their accurate characterization and use in Li‐ion batteries.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) have the potential to meet evolving Li‐ion battery demands, but for these electrolytes to satisfy growing power and energy density requirements, both transport properties and electrochemical stability must be improved. Unfortunately, improvement in one of these properties often comes at the expense of the other. To this end, a “hybrid aqueous/ionic liquid” SPE (HAILSPE) which incorporates triethylsulfonium‐TFSI (S2,2,2) orN‐methyl‐N‐propylpyrrolidinium‐TFSI (Pyr1,3) ionic liquid (IL) alongside H2O and LiTFSI salt to simultaneously improve transport and electrochemical stability is studied. This work focuses on the impact of HAILSPE composition on electrochemical performance. Analysis shows that an increase in LiTFSI content results in decreased ionic mobility, while increasing IL and water content can offset its impact. pfg‐NMR results reveal that preferential lithium‐ion transport is present in HAILSPE systems. Higher IL concentrations are correlated with an increased degree of passivation against H2O reduction. Compared to the Pyr1,3systems, the S2,2,2systems exhibit a stronger degree of passivation due to the formation of a multicomponent interphase layer, including LiF, Li2CO3, Li2S, and Li3N. The results herein demonstrate the superior electrochemical stability of the S2,2,2systems compared to Pyr1,3and provide a path toward further enhancement of HAILSPE performance via composition optimization.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    A critical barrier to overcome in the development of solid‐state electrolytes for lithium batteries is the trade‐off between sacrificing ionic conductivity for enhancement of mechanical stiffness. Here, a physically cross‐linked, polymer‐supported gel electrolyte consisting of a lithium salt/ionic liquid solution featuring a fully zwitterionic (ZI) copolymer network is introduced for rechargeable lithium‐based batteries. The ZI scaffold is synthesized using a 3:1 molar ratio of 2‐methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine and sulfobetaine vinylimidazole, and the total polymer content is varied between 1.1 and 12.5 wt%. Room‐temperature ionic conductivity values comparable to the base liquid electrolyte (≈1 mS cm−1) are achieved in ZI copolymer‐supported gels that display compressive elastic moduli as large as 14.3 MPa due to ZI dipole–dipole cross‐links. Spectroscopic characterization suggests a change in the Li+coordination shell upon addition of the zwitterions, indicative of strong Li+···ZI group interactions. Li+transference number measurements reveal an increase in Li+conductivity within a ZI gel electrolyte (nearly doubles). ZI gels display enhanced stability against Li metal, dendrite suppression, and suitable charge–discharge performance in a graphite|lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide cell. Fully ZI polymer networks in nonvolatile, ionic liquid‐based electrolytes represent a promising approach toward realizing highly conductive, mechanically rigid gels for lithium battery technologies.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Despite significant interest toward solid‐state electrolytes owing to their superior safety in comparison to liquid‐based electrolytes, sluggish ion diffusion and high interfacial resistance limit their application in durable and high‐power density batteries. Here, a novel quasi‐solid Li+ion conductive nanocomposite polymer electrolyte containing black phosphorous (BP) nanosheets is reported. The developed electrolyte is successfully cycled against Li metal (over 550 h cycling) at 1 mA cm−2at room temperature. The cycling overpotential is dropped by 75% in comparison to BP‐free polymer composite electrolyte indicating lower interfacial resistance at the electrode/electrolyte interfaces. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal that the coordination number of Li+ions around (trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (TFSI) pairs and ethylene‐oxide chains decreases at the Li metal/electrolyte interface, which facilitates the Li+transport through the polymer host. Density functional theory calculations confirm that the adsorption of the LiTFSI molecules at the BP surface leads to the weakening of N and Li atomic bonding and enhances the dissociation of Li+ions. This work offers a new potential mechanism to tune the bulk and interfacial ionic conductivity of solid‐state electrolytes that may lead to a new generation of lithium polymer batteries with high ionic conduction kinetics and stable long‐life cycling.

    more » « less