Versatile and readily available battery materials compatible with a range of electrode configurations and cell designs are desirable for renewable energy storage. Here we report a promising class of materials based on redox active colloids (RACs) that are inherently modular in their design and overcome challenges faced by small-molecule organic materials for battery applications, such as crossover and chemical/morphological stability. RACs are cross-linked polymer spheres, synthesized with uniform diameters between 80 and 800 nm, and exhibit reversible redox activity as single particles, as monolayer films, and in the form of flowable dispersions. Viologen-based RACs display reversible cycling, accessing up to 99% of their capacity and 99 ± 1% Coulombic efficiency over 50 cycles by bulk electrolysis owing to efficient, long-distance intraparticle charge transfer. Ferrocene-based RACs paired with viologen-based RACs cycled efficiently in a nonaqueous redox flow battery employing a simple size-selective separator, thus demonstrating a possible application that benefits from their colloidal dimensions. The unprecedented versatility in RAC synthetic and electrochemical design opens new avenues for energy storage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry