The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced on November 15 that it developed an ionic gel electrolyte that has solid properties with Kyung Hee University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the United States, adding that the liquid crystal electrolyte is free from the possibility of explosion and has an excellent ion conducting property based on the use of a mixture of an ionic liquid and lithium salt.
An electrolyte, which is an essential element of lithium secondary batteries and the like, is required to have a high ion transfer performance and be capable of limiting electron transfer. At present, carbonate-based liquid electrolytes are in wide use for the purpose, but these are vulnerable to the possibility of explosion, ignition, liquid leakage and evaporation.
The electrolyte developed by the three organizations at this time is one that exhibits a smectic liquid crystal property and a solid gel property at the same time and has a regular layered structure with a size of 4.36 nanometers. The electrolyte can deal with the problems mentioned above and outperforms the other liquid electrolytes in terms of ion conduction.
The researchers are currently working on the application of the electrolyte to energy storage devices such as lithium ion accumulators and lithium secondary batteries. Details of the research have been published in the Advanced Materials journal.