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IRG-IV Nugget

Improved polymer electrolytes for lithium batteries

 

New applications of rechargeable batteries, such as in hybrid vehicles and consumer electronics, require both high power density and flexibility in shape. Design flexibility and safety require batteries that are constructed from all solid components, unlike traditional batteries, which have a liquid electrolyte. Polymers, which are the best candidate materials for solid electrolytes, usually have very low conductivity, leading to batteries with low power density. Recent research in IRG-IV demonstrated that novel polymers can be designed which mechanically behave as plastic, but can have ionic conductivities similar to a liquid. This high conductivity was achieved by separating the positive and negative charges in block copolymer electrolytes (bottom structure below) so that Li+ would not be trapped by the negatively charged ions. It is expected that this discovery will lead to the development of safe, flexible rechargeable batteries with high power density.

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