A Perspective on the Design of Ion-Containing Polymers for Polymer Electrolyte Applications

Boran Ma, Monica Olvera De La Cruz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Ion-containing polymers have numerous potential applications as energy storage and conversion devices, water purification membranes, and gas separation membranes, to name a few. Given the low dielectric constant of the media, ions and charges on polymers in a molten state interact strongly producing large effects on chain statistics, thermodynamics, and diffusion properties. Here, we discuss recent research accomplishments on the effects of ionic correlation and dielectric heterogeneity on the phase behavior of ion-containing polymers. Progress made in studying ion transport properties in these material systems is also highlighted. Charged block copolymers (BCPs), among all kinds of ion-containing polymers, have a particular advantage owing to their robust mechanical support and ion conducting paths provided by the segregation of the neutral and charged blocks. Coulombic interactions among the charges play a critical role in determining the phase segregation in charged BCPs and the domain size of charge-rich regions. We show that strongly charged BCPs display ordered phases as a result of electrostatic interactions alone. In addition, bulky charge-containing side groups attached to the charged block lead to the formation of morphologies that provide continuous channels and better dissociation for ion conduction purposes. Finally, a few avenues for designing ion-containing polymers for energy applications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3015-3022
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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