NEES PI Bruce Dunn, of the University of California, Los Angeles, published an article in the new journal Joule, accompanied by a glowing review of the work in the journal’s highlights section.
The work Dunn published in Joule demonstrates a patternable, photo-polymerized ionogel – a pseudo-solid-state electrolyte in which an ion-conducting liquid is trapped inside a solid silica matrix. The ionogel starts as a solution and uses an ultraviolet light source to crosslink the silica and form the solid matrix. By processing the electrolyte as a liquid, an improved interface between the electrolyte and electrode is produced. The liquid state also enables the ionogel solid electrolytes to be spin coated into films less than one micron thick. These thin films were incorporated in electrochemical cells with a lithium metal anode and lithium iron phosphate cathode to form a pseudo solid-state device whose operating characteristics were comparable to the corresponding liquid electrolyte battery.
Joule editor Rahul Malik sums up the ionogel battery’s contributions:
"In summary, this work is a shining example of the critical importance of pursuing energy research not only for the purpose of achieving optimized lab-scale performance, but also for realizing commercial scale-up. As we have witnessed recently with traditional Li-ion batteries and silicon photovoltaics, production in high volumes is one of the key drivers of plummeting prices and improved performance, and as such it makes perfect sense to incorporate these considerations into the research process at the earliest stages. With the advances in synthesis and processing of ionogel electrolytes made in this work, we inch closer to pseudo-solid state batteries seeing the light."
Read the full highlight, "Pseudo-solid State Batteries See the Light."
Patternable, Solution-Processed Ionogels for Thin-Film Lithium-Ion Electrolytes
Ashby et al. Joule (2017)
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