Lithium-Conducting Self-Assembled Organic Nanotubes

Michael J. Strauss, Insu Hwang, Austin M. Evans, Anusree Natraj, Xavier Aguilar-Enriquez, Ioannina Castano, Emily K. Roesner, Jang Wook Choi, William R. Dichtel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Supramolecular polymers are compelling platforms for the design of stimuli-responsive materials with emergent functions. Here, we report the assembly of an amphiphilic nanotube for Li-ion conduction that exhibits high ionic conductivity, mechanical integrity, electrochemical stability, and solution processability. Imine condensation of a pyridine-containing diamine with a triethylene glycol functionalized isophthalaldehyde yields pore-functionalized macrocycles. Atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and in solvo X-ray diffraction reveal that macrocycle protonation during their mild synthesis drives assembly into high-aspect ratio (>103) nanotubes with three interior triethylene glycol groups. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy demonstrates that lithiated nanotubes are efficient Li+ conductors, with an activation energy of 0.42 eV and a peak room temperature conductivity of 3.91 ± 0.38 × 10-5 S cm-1. 7Li NMR and Raman spectroscopy show that lithiation occurs exclusively within the nanotube interior and implicates the glycol groups in facilitating efficient Li+ transduction. Linear sweep voltammetry and galvanostatic lithium plating-stripping tests reveal that this nanotube-based electrolyte is stable over a wide potential range and supports long-term cyclability. These findings demonstrate how the coupling of synthetic design and supramolecular structural control can yield high-performance ionic transporters that are amenable to device-relevant fabrication, as well as the technological potential of chemically designed self-assembled nanotubes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17655-17665
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 27 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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