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Anisotropic MRI contrast reveals enhanced ionic transport in plastic crystals
journal contributionposted on 05.11.2014, 00:00 authored by Konstantin Romanenko, L Jin, L A Madsen, Jenny PringleJenny Pringle, Luke O'DellLuke O'Dell, Maria ForsythMaria Forsyth
Organic ionic plastic crystals (OIPCs) are attractive as solid-state electrolytes for electrochemical devices such as lithium-ion batteries and solar and fuel cells. OIPCs offer high ionic conductivity, nonflammability, and versatility of molecular design. Nevertheless, intrinsic ion transport behavior of OIPCs is not fully understood, and their measured properties depend heavily on thermal history. Solid-state magnetic resonance imaging experiments reveal a striking image contrast anisotropy sensitive to the orientation of grain boundaries in polycrystalline OIPCs. Probing triethyl(methyl)phosphonium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (P1222FSI) samples with different thermal history demonstrates vast variations in microcrystallite alignment. Upon slow cooling from the melt, microcrystallites exhibit a preferred orientation throughout the entire sample, leading to an order of magnitude increase in conductivity as probed using impedance spectroscopy. This investigation describes both a new conceptual window and a new characterization method for understanding polycrystalline domain structure and transport in plastic crystals and other solid-state conductors.