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Structural studies of ambient temperature plastic crystal ion conductors
journal contributionposted on 23.08.2001, 00:00 authored by D MacFarlane, P Meakin, N Amini, Maria ForsythMaria Forsyth
A number of novel organic ionic compounds based on the pyrrolidinium cation are described which have been found to be ion conductors in their solid states around room temperature. The properties of the compounds are consistent with their exhibiting plastic crystal phases. In order to understand some of the molecular origins of the plastic crystal behaviour and the ion conductivity that it promotes, a number of related compounds based on the imidazolium and ammonium cations are also described which have structural elements in common with the pyrrolidinium cation, but which do not show the plastic behaviour. It is found therefore that the nature of the cation is quite critical to the development of this behaviour. The alkyl methyl pyrrolidinium cation is found to produce plastic crystal phases when the alkyl chains are short, thereby preserving the ability of the cation to rotate with minimal steric hindrance. The ammonium and imidazolium cations of comparable size and structure are less able to produce these plastic phases, in many cases because the low temperature phase proceeds to melt rather than forming a stable rotator phase.