Coordination and conjugation

The properties of ion conductors and electron conductors that make up, for example, the middle and outer materials in a battery, depend on how well ions and electrons move through them. This is intricately linked to their structure: how strongly the ions are held – coordination – and how extensive the electron transport pathways – conjugation – are. 


Understanding these two important aspects in new lithium-based coordination polymers was one of the main aims of a recent paper, led by my co-worker Satoshi Tominaka and published in the journal CrystEngComm. Find the full paper here, or in my publication list here.

Although we didn’t find any new amazing properties in these materials, they provided us with an opportunity to look at the structures and see trends in how the ionic bonding and conjugation varied with different composition and packing of the organic molecules. Satoshi found that the lithium-to-oxygen bond length (roughly equivalent to the weakness of binding) decreased as the nearest carbon-oxygen bond length increased (see the figure above). This gives us a clue as to how to design new, improved battery materials…


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