2017 Spring Talk (Nitash P. Balsara, UC Berkeley)
Ohm’s Law, Polymer Electrolytes, and Lithium Batteries
Nitash P. Balsara
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and Environmental Energy Technologies and Materials Sciences Divisions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
The need for creating safe electrolytes for lithium batteries is significant given the continued safety problems associated with current lithium-ion batteries. Nonflammable polymer electrolytes offer a possible solution but the rate of lithium ion transport is too low for practical applications. In this talk, I will discuss some of the fundamental factors that limit ion transport in polymers. Polymer electrolytes obey Ohm’s Law, i.e. in the limit of small applied potentials, the current generated at steady state is proportional to the applied potential. The underpinnings of this observation, which remains to be established, will be discussed. We will discuss both homogeneous and nanostructured polymer electrolytes. The talk will conclude with the relevance of these material in the emerging clean energy landscape.