Anhydrous Proton Transport in Polymerized Ionic Liquid Block Copolymers: Roles of Block Length, Ionic Content, and Confinement

Christopher M. Evans, Gabriel E. Sanoja, Bhooshan C. Popere, Rachel A. Segalman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anhydrous proton transport has been investigated in a series of proton conducting polystyrene-block-polymerized ionic liquid (PS-b-PIL) copolymers spanning a range of molecular weights and compositions. The PIL is a macromolecular analogue of imidazolium bis(trifluoromethane sulfonimide) (ImTFSI), a well-known proton conducting ionic liquid, and consists of imidazole linked to a polymer backbone via the 5-carbon. In contrast to prior work on nitrogen-linked imidazolium PILs, carbon-linked imidazolium has two nitrogens which can both function as proton donor/acceptors and participate in Grotthus mechanism conduction. The conductivity of the PIL block is shown to be dramatically impacted upon confinement by a PS block and can exceed the conductivity of the homopolymer in the range of 30-130 °C for PIL-rich block copolymer composition. At high temperature the conductivities track with ionic content while at room temperature the conductivities are nonmonotonic. X-ray scattering reveals a suppression of the peak associated with ionic aggregation in all block copolymers relative to the homopolymer consistent with the higher conductivities observed at room temperature. The dependence of ionic conductivity on temperature, as quantified by the VFT strength parameter D, decreases with decreasing PIL block length corresponding to a change in the packing efficiency of the conductive block. These changes in packing are hypothesized to lead to the different temperature dependences of conductivity which cause the nonmonotonic block copolymer conductivities observed at room temperature. Finally, we demonstrate that the fraction of PIL in the block copolymer is the main factor governing the high temperature ionic conductivity of these materials while confinement effects become important at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-404
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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