Liquid crystal self-assembly of halloysite nanotubes in ionic liquids: a novel soft nanocomposite ionogel electrolyte with high anisotropic ionic conductivity and thermal stability†
We report a novel class of liquid crystalline (LC) nanohybrid ionogels fabricated via self-assembly of natural halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) in ionic liquids (ILs). The obtained ionogels are very stable and nonvolatile and show LC phases over a wide temperature range. Remarkably, the nanocomposite ionogels exhibit high anisotropic ionic conductivity after shear, and their room temperature ionic conductivity can reach 3.8 × 10−3 S cm−1 for aligned nanotubes perpendicular to the electrode even when the HNTs content increases to 40 wt%, which is 380 times higher than that obtained for aligned nanotubes parallel to the electrode, which is 1.0 × 10−5 S cm−1. Crucially, the obtained LC nanocomposite ionogels have very high thermal stability, which can sustain 400 °C thermal treatment. The findings will promote the development of novel nanocomposite ionogel electrolytes with faster ion transport and larger anisotropic conductivity.