Structural and Dynamic Insights into the Conduction of Lithium-Ionic-Liquid Mixtures in Nanoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks as Solid-State Electrolytes
Vazquez, M. / Liu, M. / Zhang, Z. / Chandresh, A. / Kanj, A.B. / Wenzel, W. / Heinke, L. (2021)
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2021,13(18):21166-21174, doi: 10.1021/acsami.1c00366
- Date: April 2021
Metal-organic framework (MOF)-based separators in Li-ion batteries (LIBs) have the potential to improve the battery performance. The mobility and conduction of lithium and organic ionic liquids (ILs) in these materials acting as (quasi) solid-state electrolytes are crucial for the battery power output. Here, we investigate the mobility of a Li-based IL in MOF nanopores and unveil the details of the conduction mechanism by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. A complex conductivity depending on the Li-IL loading and on the IL composition is observed. Most importantly, the presence of Li prevents the collapse of the conductivity at high IL loadings. The fully atomistic MD simulations including guest-guest and guest-host interactions elucidate the competing mechanisms: Li follows a Grotthuss-like conduction mechanism with large mobility. While at small pore fillings, the Li conduction is limited by the large distance between the anions facilitating the Grotthuss-like conduction; the conduction at high pore fillings is governed by field-induced concentration inhomogeneities. Because of the small MOF pore windows, which hinders the simultaneous passage of the large IL cations and anions in opposite directions, the IL shows field-induced MOF pore blocking and ion bunching. The regions of low anion concentration and high cation concentration represent barriers for Li, decreasing its mobility. In comparison to Li-free IL, the IL bunching effect is attenuated by the formation of charge-neutral Li-anion complexes, resulting in a tremendously increased conductivity at maximum pore filling. The exploitation of this mechanism may enhance the development of advanced batteries based on IL and nanoporous separators.