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Compatibility of hydrophobic ionic liquids with high performance cathode materials for lithium ion batteries




Carnes-Mason, Ezekial Robert, author
James, Susan, advisor
Wilkes, John, committee member
Strauss, Steven, committee member

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Lithium batteries are widely seen as the best choice for the future of energy storage but significant improvements are still required. One important area for improvement is searching for new cathode materials that incorporate lithium at higher capacities and voltages. This increases the energy and power available from an individual electrochemical cell, which reduces the number of cells required thereby reducing the size of a battery pack. While several high voltage cathode materials have been discovered, research has been hindered due to safety concerns with current standard electrolytes at high voltages. Ionic liquids are a new class of materials that exhibit excellent electrochemical and thermal stability as well as high ionic conductivity. These qualities make them excellent candidates to replace current battery electrolytes but difficulties in purification and the sheer number of possible chemistries have inhibited their study. In this study four hydrophobic ionic liquids based on pyrrolidinium and piperidinium cations paired with bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide anions were synthesized using bench top methods. These ionic liquids were successfully incorporated into working half-cells with LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2, a high capacity layered cathode and LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4, a high voltage spinel type cathode. By comparing the behavior of the ionic liquids a clear relationship between cation size and rate capability was shown. The improved performance and safety at elevated temperatures was also demonstrated showing that ionic liquids are excellent candidates for use as battery electrolytes.


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