Functional Polymer Electrolytes for Multidimensional All-Solid-State Lithium Batteries
Abstract: Pressing demands for high power and high energy densities in novel electrical energy storage units have caused reconsiderations regarding both the choice of battery chemistry and design. Practical concerns originating in the conventional use of flammable liquid electrolytes have renewed the interests of using solvent-free polymer electrolytes (SPEs) as solid ionic conductors for safer batteries.In this thesis work, SPEs developed from two polymer host structures, polyethers and polycarbonates, have been investigated for all-solid-state Li- and Li-ion battery applications. In the first part, functional polyether-based polymer electrolytes, such as poly(propylene glycol) triamine based oligomer and poly(propylene oxide)-based acrylates, were investigated for 3D-microbattery applications. The amine end-groups were favorable for forming conformal electrolyte coatings onto 3D electrodes via self-assembly. In-situ polymerization methods such as UV-initiated and electro-initiated polymerization techniques also showed potential to deposit uniform and conformal polymer coatings with thicknesses down to nano-dimensions.Moreover, poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC), an alternative to the commonly investigated polyether host materials, was synthesized for SPE applications and showed promising functionality as battery electrolyte. High-molecular-weight PTMC was first applied in LiFePO4-based batteries. By incorporating an oligomeric PTMC as an interfacial mediator, enhanced surface contacts at the electrode/SPE interfaces and obvious improvements in initial capacities were realized. In addition, room-temperature functionality of PTMC-based SPEs was explored through copolymerization of ?-caprolactone (CL) with TMC. Stable cycling performance at ambient temperatures was confirmed in P(TMC/CL)-based LiFePO4 half cells (e.g., around 80 and 150 mAh g-1 at 22 °C and 40 °C under C/20 rate, respectively). Through functionalization, hydroxyl-capped PTMC demonstrated good surface adhesion to metal oxides and was applied on non-planar electrodes. Ionic transport behavior in polycarbonate-SPEs was examined by both experimental and computational approaches. A coupling of Li ion transport with the polymer chain motions was demonstrated.The final part of this work has been focused on exploring the key characteristics of the electrode/SPE interfacial chemistry using PEO and PTMC host materials, respectively. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was used to get insights on the compositions of the interphase layers in both graphite and LiFePO4 half cells.
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