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Keywords:

  • batteries and fuel cells;
  • copolymers;
  • ionic liquids

Abstract

The global energy crisis and an increase in environmental pollution in the recent years have drawn the attention of the scientific community towards the development of efficient electrochemical devices. Polymers containing charged species have the potential to serve as electrolytes in next-generation devices and achieving high ion transport properties in these electrolytes is the key to improving their efficiency. In this article, we explore ways to improve the ion transport properties of solid polymer electrolytes by focusing on the use of ionic liquids (ILs). The application of IL-incorporated polymer electrolytes in lithium batteries, high temperature fuel cells, and electro-active actuators is summarized. For each system, the current level of understanding of the diverse factors affecting the transport properties of polymer electrolytes integrated with ILs is presented, in addition to the challenges encountered and strategies toward obtaining significantly improved device performances. The creation of self-assembled morphologies in IL-containing polymer electrolytes by the use of block copolymers is particularly highlighted as a novel prospective technique geared towards obtaining next-generation electrochemical devices with enhanced performances. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013