Structure–property study of cross-linked hydrocarbon/poly(ethylene oxide) electrolytes with superior conductivity and dendrite resistance
Lithium dendrite growth is a fundamental problem that precludes the practical use of lithium metal batteries. Solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) have been widely studied to resist the growth of lithium dendrites but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Most SPEs sacrifice high ionic conductivities for increased dendrite suppression performance by using components with high mechanical stiffness. We report a class of cross-linked hydrocarbon/poly(ethylene oxide) SPEs with both high ionic conductivities (approaching 1 × 10−3 S cm−1 at 25 °C) and superior dendrite suppression characteristics. A systematic structure–property study shows that the crystallinity of the hydrocarbon backbones plays a key role in regulating size and morphology of lithium dendrites, as well as the ability to suppress their growth.