Fluorescence-enabled self-reporting for redox flow batteries

Lily A. Robertson, Ilya A. Shkrob, Garvit Agarwal, Yuyue Zhao, Zhou Yu, Rajeev S. Assary, Lei Cheng, Jeffrey S. Moore, Lu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring battery health is challenging. Self-reporting enables the rapid health assessment of redox flow batteries (RFBs) and provides insight into degradation mechanisms of electrochemically active molecules (redoxmers). Here we introduce fluorescence as an orthogonal property to probe this chemistry in situ. An established anolyte redoxmer, 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole, is rendered an efficient blue-green fluorophore through minimalistic derivatization. One of the derivatives is electrochemically reversible with a long lifetime and cycling stability in the charged state. Spectroscopic measurements on this new redoxmer reveal strong effects of the electrolyte cation on the fluorescence that are useful for probing the solvent microenvironment. Using this probe, we demonstrate proof-of-concept in situ crossover sensing and characterize the effects of electrolyte composition on this crossover. In this way, real-time tracing of redoxmers in a flow cell is demonstrated, paving the way to include still more self-reporting functions into the redoxmers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3062-3068
Number of pages7
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 11 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Materials Chemistry


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