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Nat Commun. 2019 Nov 26;10(1):5384. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13362-4.

Decoupling of mechanical properties and ionic conductivity in supramolecular lithium ion conductors.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Shriram Center, 443 Via Ortega, Room 307, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.
2
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 200240, China. xzyan@sjtu.edu.cn.
3
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210093, P. R. China.
4
Innovative Center for Flexible Devices (iFLEX), School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue 639798, Singapore, Singapore.
5
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 476 Lomita Mall, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.
6
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 476 Lomita Mall, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA. yicui@stanford.edu.
7
Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA, 94025, USA. yicui@stanford.edu.
8
Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Shriram Center, 443 Via Ortega, Room 307, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA. zbao@stanford.edu.

Abstract

The emergence of wearable electronics puts batteries closer to the human skin, exacerbating the need for battery materials that are robust, highly ionically conductive, and stretchable. Herein, we introduce a supramolecular design as an effective strategy to overcome the canonical tradeoff between mechanical robustness and ionic conductivity in polymer electrolytes. The supramolecular lithium ion conductor utilizes orthogonally functional H-bonding domains and ion-conducting domains to create a polymer electrolyte with unprecedented toughness (29.3 MJ m-3) and high ionic conductivity (1.2 × 10-4 S cm-1 at 25 °C). Implementation of the supramolecular ion conductor as a binder material allows for the creation of stretchable lithium-ion battery electrodes with strain capability of over 900% via a conventional slurry process. The supramolecular nature of these battery components enables intimate bonding at the electrode-electrolyte interface. Combination of these stretchable components leads to a stretchable battery with a capacity of 1.1 mAh cm-2 that functions even when stretched to 70% strain. The method reported here of decoupling ionic conductivity from mechanical properties opens a promising route to create high-toughness ion transport materials for energy storage applications.

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