“Smart” Composite Membranes for Lithium-Metal-Polymer Batteries

Published : 15 July 2019

This PhD subject lays at the crossroad of chemical synthesis and physics under nanometric confinement. We propose an original way to allow the use of “lithium metal polymer” batteries at room temperature. This objective will be achieved by combining three effects: i) the nanometric confinement of the electrolyte in composite “smart” membranes based on vertically aligned carbon NanoTubes (CNT), ii) the use of low molecular weight Poly(Ethylene Oxide (PEO) and iii) one-dimensional ionic conduction. A crucial point to deliver a proof of concept assembly of a 1D CNT-based lithium battery separator is the grafting of short PEO chains on one side of the CNT membrane to overcome the electrical conductive character of the CNTs.

Depending on the physico-chemical conditions on one side of the membrane (pH, temperature…), one can expect drastic changes in the conformation of the CNT-tips-grafted-polymer layer: from extended to mushroom conformation. Therefore, beyond the present project, such smart membranes could be used as “nano-valves” in order to gate the flow between different media.

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