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Title: Nanostructure-Driven Ion Transport in PCBM-Based Polymer Electrolytes

Nanostructure-Driven Ion Transport in PCBM-Based Polymer Electrolytes Che-Nan Sun1, Thomas A. Zawodzinski1,2, Fei Ren3, Jong Kahk Keum1 and Jihua Chen1, (1)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (2)The University of Tennessee, (3)Temple University Polyethylene oxide or PEO is an extensively-examined candidate for solid polymer electrolyte materials of lithium ion batteries, and its composite electrolytes has promising ion conductivities.[1-3] Oxide nanoparticles with sizes of 5-10 nm are often introduced into these polymer-based composite electrolytes in order to suppress their room-temperature crystallite formation.1-9 The size, geometry and surface functionality of the added particles were known to largely affect the structure and performance of the blended electrolytes.5,10 In this study, we examined a functionalized-fullerene-based composite electrolytes, providing details in their self-assembled nanostructures, modulus, hardness, as well as temperature-dependent ion-conducting behaviors. To the best of our knowledge, no fullerene-based, lithium conducting, composite electrolyte has been reported previously. Herein we used a bench-mark fullerene derivative, phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) as a model fullerene compound and performed impedance spectroscopy, equivalent circuit modeling, nanoscale elemental mapping (in transmission electron microscope), wide-angle X-ray diffraction, as well as nanoindentation to shed light on a 6-fold enhancement in low temperature (less than 50oC) ion conductivity of PEO - lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl) imide (LiTFSI)-PCBMmore » electrolytes, along with the underlying changes in nanomorphology , mechanical properties, and crystal structures. Based on a previous density functional theory (DFT) calculation, 11 the interaction energies Ei among PEO polymers is estimated to be 2.58 kcal mol-1 per monomer, the Ei between PCBM and PEO is 3.50 kcal mol-1 per monomer (PCBM is taken as 1 repeat unit), and the Ei among PCBMs themselves is 6.01 kcal mol-1 per monomer. This explains that at very low PCBM weight percentage, without sufficient PCBM-PCBM contacts, it is more energetically favorable for fullerenes to disperse into PEO matrix. However, with higher PCBM concentration, the fullerenes will efficiently pack with each other into domains with gradually increased dimensions. Quantification of PCBM domains is performed by line scan analysis of energy filtered TEM (EFTEM) images. Upon the addition of PCBM, the average domain sizes gradually increase from 3.4 1 nm ( 0% PCBM), to 4.6 1 nm (10% PCBM) and 4.9 2 nm (20% PCBM), and finally to 7.5 5 nm (40% PCBM ). (A precise determination of PCBM domain dimension is not possible when the domain size is less than 3 nm, due to the lack of EFTEM contrast in these samples). We attribute the observed ion conductivity improvement to those nanomorphological variation in PCBM-PEO-LiTFSi systems.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
  2. ORNL
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Conference: Electrochemical Society Meeting 2014, Orlando, FL, USA, 20140511, 20140511
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States