Nanostructured liquid-crystalline Li-ion conductors with high oxidation resistance: molecular design strategy towards safe and high-voltage-operation Li-ion batteries†
Nanostructured, uncharged liquid-crystalline (LC) electrolyte molecules having bicyclohexyl and cyclic carbonate moieties have been developed for application in Li-ion batteries as quasi-solid electrolytes, which suppress leakage and combustion. Towards the development of safe and high performance Li-ion batteries, we have designed Li-ion conductive LC materials with high oxidation resistance using density functional theory (DFT) calculation. The DFT calculation suggests that a mesogen with a bicyclohexyl moiety is suitable for the high-oxidation-resistance LC electrolytes compared to a mesogen containing phenylene moieties. A tri(oxyethylene) chain introduced between the cyclic carbonate and the bicyclohexyl moiety in the core part tunes the viscosity and the miscibility with Li salts. The designed Li-ion conductive LC molecules exhibit smectic LC phases over a wide temperature range, and they are miscible with added lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (LiTFSI) salt up to 5 : 5 in molar ratio in their smectic phases. The resulting LC mixtures with LiTFSI show oxidation resistance above 4.0 V vs. Li/Li+ in cyclic voltammetry measurements. The enhanced oxidation resistance improves the performance of Li half-cells containing LC electrolytes.
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