High Lithium Transference Number Electrolytes via Creation of 3-Dimensional, Charged, Nanoporous Networks from Dense Functionalized Nanoparticle Composites

Jennifer L. Schaefer, Dennis A. Yanga, Lynden A. Archer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations

Abstract

High lithium transference number, tLi+, electrolytes are desired for use in both lithium-ion and lithium metal rechargeable battery technologies. Historically, low tLi+ electrolytes have hindered device performance by allowing ion concentration gradients within the cell, leading to high internal resistances that ultimately limit cell lifetime, charging rates, and energy density. Herein, we report on the synthesis and electrochemical features of electrolytes based on nanoparticle salts designed to provide high tLi+. The salts are created by cofunctionalization of metal oxide nanoparticles with neutral organic ligands and tethered lithium salts. When dispersed in a conducting fluid such as tetraglyme, they spontaneously form a charged, nanoporous network of particles at moderate nanoparticle loadings. Modification of the tethered anion chemistry from -SO3 - to -SO3BF3 - is shown to enhance ionic conductivity of the electrolytes by facilitating ion pair dissociation. At a particle volume fraction of 0.15, the electrolyte exists as a self-supported, nanoporous gel with an optimum ionic conductivity of 10 -4 S/cm at room temperature. Galvanostatic polarization measurements on symmetric lithium metal cells containing the electrolyte show that the cell short circuit time, tSC, is inversely proportional to the square of the applied current density tSC ∼ J-2, consistent with previously predicted results for traditional polymer-in-salt electrolytes with low tLi+. Our findings suggest that electrolytes with tLi+ ≈ 1 and good ion-pair dissociation delay lithium dendrite nucleation and may lead to improved lithium plating in rechargeable batteries with metallic lithium anodes. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)834-839
Number of pages6
JournalChemistry of Materials
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 13 2013
Externally publishedYes

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