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Polymer–Ceramic Composite Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries: A Comparison between the Single-Ion-Conducting Polymer Matrix and Its Counterpart

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journal contribution
posted on 16.09.2020 by Laura C. Merrill, Xi Chelsea Chen, Yiman Zhang, Hunter O. Ford, Kun Lou, Yubin Zhang, Guang Yang, Yangyang Wang, Yan Wang, Jennifer L. Schaefer, Nancy J. Dudney
Single-ion-conducting polymer electrolytes are attractive to use in lithium batteries as the transference number of the lithium cation approaches unity. This helps prevent concentration gradients across the electrolyte, which can result in dendrite formation. The addition of ceramic particles to polymer electrolytes at high loadings can increase the mechanical strength of the polymer, which can also help suppress dendrite formation. Here, a single-ion-conducting polymer electrolyte is blended with lithium-conducting oxide ceramic particles to make a composite electrolyte. This electrolyte is studied in comparison to a composite electrolyte containing freely dissolved lithium salt. It is found that the addition of ceramic particles to the single-ion-conducting polymer can result in increased cation dissociation and consequent increased ionic conductivity. The electrolytes are cycled in lithium symmetrical cells, and it is found that the ceramic-containing electrolytes show increased interfacial stability with the lithium metal compared to the pristine polymer electrolytes. Our findings shed light on how to optimize the polymer host chemistry to form composite electrolytes that can meet the challenging requirements to stabilize the lithium metal anode.