Synthesis and Electrochemical Characterization of High-Capacity Organic Cathodic Materials for Use in Lithium-Ion Batteries

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The industrial demand for higher capacity, light-weight battery materials has skyrocketed in recent years due to heavy investments in portable electronics, electronic vehicles, and renewable energy sources. However, rechargeable battery technology has seen little improvement since the invention of the Lithium-Ion battery in the 1980s. The low energy density of the traditionally utilized LiCoO2 cathodic material (272 mAh/g), has limited its potential to meet these increasing demands. To solve this problem, the Sun-Koppang research group is investigating a new type of light-weight, organic, polymeric material with a conductive backbone as a possible replacement for the cathodic materials in Lithium-Ion batteries. Our novel polymer utilizes the electrochemical reduction of Nitro functional groups and would have a theoretical capacity of 967 mAh/g in a single-use battery system. This same polymer could be utilized as a rechargeable battery material by relying upon the red-ox couple between the nitroso and phenylhydroxylamine functional groups. This rechargeable material would have a calculated theoretical capacity of 581 mAh/g. 1H NMR results show that we have successfully prepared the monomer with thiophene functional groups. Initial electrochemical study indicates multiple electron transfer reaction occurs during the reduction at about 2.5 V vs. Li/Li+ redox couple. Future work would focus on the optimization of polymerization condition of the Schiff Base monomer and to begin preliminary lithium battery discharge testing. This project explores the field of light-weight organic cathodic materials and has the potential to greatly increase the energy density for Lithium-Ion batteries. This would ultimately serve to remove the technology bottleneck that is holding research in other areas back and would be to the benefit of anyone who relies upon battery technology in their daily life.

First Advisor

Haoran Sun

Second Advisor

Miles Koppang

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