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Study of the Segmental Dynamics and Ion Transport of Solid Polymer Electrolytes in the Semi-crystalline State...

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Frontiers in Chemistry
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Solid polymer electrolytes are promising in fulfilling the requirements for a stable lithium metal anode toward higher energy and power densities. In this work, we investigate the segmental dynamics, ionic conductivity, and crystallinity of a polymer electrolyte consisting of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and lithium triflate salt, in the semi-crystalline state. Using quasi-elastic neutron scattering, the segmental dynamics of PEO chains confined between the crystalline lamellae is quantified, using Cole–Cole analysis. We show that the structural relaxation time, τ0, of PEO equilibrated near room temperature is six-fold longer than the same sample that had just cooled down to room temperature. This corresponds to a three-fold smaller ionic conductivity in the equilibrated condition. This work reveals that the segmental dynamics of semi-crystalline polymer electrolytes is very sensitive to thermal history. We demonstrate that quasi-elastic neutron scattering can be used to characterize the ion transport and segmental dynamics in the semi-crystalline state.