Public Larson Lecture: Polymer Electrolytes

Dr. Monica Olvera de la Cruz Northwestern University

Date & Time:

Thursday, October 5, 2017
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Location:

OEC Auditorium

Abstract:

Recent developments in high-density energy storage devices have heightened the search for materials that are mechanically robust and highly tunable. Polyelectrolyte blends and copolymers, consisting of at least one charged species, are ideal candidate materials for fuel cell and battery membranes, as they combine the mechanical stability of the polymer chain with the ion-selective conductivity of the charged backbone. Specifically, using charged constituents in a copolymer has is a powerful way to control the self-assembled nanostructures in the copolymer by introducing local ionic correlations between the charged backbone and the counterions. We show here that charged components enhance phase separation of copolymers even in the absence of polymer interactions, leading to nanostructures that are highly desirable for transport but inaccessible in neutral block copolymers. With statistical thermodynamic methods, we investigate the phase diagram of polyelectrolyte blends and charged-neutral block copolymers.