This work aims to develop a detailed mechanistic understanding of the role of a graft polymer architecture on lithium ion (Li+) transport in poly(ethylene oxide)-based polymer electrolytes. Specifically, we compare Li+ transport in poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) versus poly(oligo oxyethylene methacrylate) (POEM) polymers doped with lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl) (LiTFSI) salts, using both experimental electrochemical characterization and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Our results indicate that POEM exhibits a range of relaxation processes that cannot be interpreted solely in terms of glass-transition temperature (Tg) effects. Due to its side-chain architecture, the segmental relaxation of POEM is nonuniform across ether oxygens (EOs) and shows a more pronounced sensitivity to temperature above Tg compared to PEO. Moreover, POEM also exhibits a nonuniform Li+ coordination behavior, in which Li+ is primarily solvated by two different chains in POEM, compared to a single chain in PEO. Li+ transport in POEM occurs via two events with distinct characteristic times: a fast intrachain hopping along side chains and a slow interchain hopping between side chains. Taken together, the relaxation processes and ion transport mechanisms identified in POEM provide useful insights into design of more effective solid polymer electrolytes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry