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IoniC LIquid Crystals: Towards TunAble-by-Design ElectroLytes – CITADEL

Ionic liquid crystals: Towards tunable-by-design electrolytes

Its overarching goal is to deliver proof of concept demonstration of efficient nanoconfined ionic transport going beyond current state of the art performances of currently used electrolytes to trigger the dawn of safer-by-design next generations key enabling technology (KET) 2.0 solutions in reply to mankind’s energy needs.

Long-range ordering of inic liquid crystals

The basic research-oriented core novelty of CITADEL lies in the direct comparison of two types of soft-matter based advanced electrolytes: i) dynamically self-assembled monodomains of Anion/Cation-conducting Thermotropic Ionic Liquid Crystals (A- vs. C-TILCs) enabled through the application of an ac-electric field and ii) long-range ordered single-anion/cation conducting polymerized thin films by in situ photochemical crosslinking reactions onto ac-electric field long-range oriented TILC’s analogous molecules appropriately designed with photocrosslinkable end-moieties to result into single-ion (A or C-)PhotoCrosslinked TILCs. CITADEL is backed on two scientific pillars: i) Pillar I: TILCs (stimuli-responsive & self-healable ionic conductors) and ii) Pillar II: their long-range ordering to allow for disorder-free (i.e. grain boundaries free) electrolytes encoding 1D, 2D & 3D efficient anionic and cationic transport. It specifically addresses two fundamental questions for advanced nanostructured soft-matter based electrolytes: i) the role of (1D vs. 2D vs. 3D) dimensionality onto the percolation (tortuosity issue) and nanoconfinement of charge carriers within multiscale phase-segregated materials with insulating and conducting sub-phases and ii) the mosaicity and the defect management in functional soft matter.

CITADEL is a truly interdisciplinary (chemistry (WP1), physics (WP2), thermodynamic/theory (WP3)) low TRL1-3 collaborative research project (PRC) combining the cross-fertilizing expertise and know-how of its four (inter)nationally recognized teams. SyMMES+PCM2E for their achievements in multiscale structure/property correlations and functional material design for the fields of energy generation and storage, IMP+SyMMES in the synthesis of well-defined ionic liquid-based (nano)materials, and LCH+PCM2E in thermodynamic and simulation of these electrolytic systems. It will involve 82.5 p.m of permanent people and 123 p.m of non-permanent people, cumulating in a 205.5 p.m research effort, i.e. equivalent to ca. 4.9 researchers devoted full time to the development of its scientific program over 42 months. Realizing CITADEL’s ambitious goals will facilitate the lab-to-fab’s implementation KETs seek in the SNRE (Strategic direction 3: §3.1.1/pp 47-48) and is intrinsically part of the orientation 14 of the SNR named «conception of new materials« and concomitantly linked to the direction 1 «basic energy sciences: fundamental, exploratory research, breakthrough concepts to answer the long-term challenges of energy« of the research theme 2.1 (A sustainable, clean, secure and efficient energy) of the 2019 action plan of ANR.

1 / The synthesized TILCs present mesophases of interest (smectic, columnar, etc.), basic building blocks essential to the objectives of the project, and in temperature ranges which will allow structure / transport properties correlations in a fine and quantitative way.
2 / The use of a versatile 254-nm photocrosslinking pathway between the alkyl chains which will allow rapid development of the part of the project concerning the possibility of having self-supported films having the structure of the used mesophases (crosslinked mesophases to preserve their structure out of the equilibrium temperature).
3 / Development of original / dedicated simulation tools for thermotropic ionic liquid crystals.

Functional materials hierarchically self-assembled across multiple length scales are consubstantial to life, which through continuous and evolutionary processes, master complex functions through balanced implementations of energy generation & storage fundamental processes. Taking lessons from Nature in the ultimate exploitation of functions related to human-engineered (nano)structured materials is seen as a promising springboard towards scientific & technological innovation breakthroughs. Achieving this objective is becoming especially crucial for unlocking transformative progresses aiming at easy and continuous access to decarbonized energy resources through the 21st century. CITADEL is a basic research-grounded attempt to fulfil ambitious scientific and societal challenges through next generation electrochemical energy devices via developing families of tunable-by-design ionically conducting electrolytes relying on simple to implement, scalable and industry-compliant elaboration processes.

1. M. Maréchal «Long-range structure of self-assembled ionic liquids for efficient transport« ILMAT V, 6 Oct. 2019, Paris.
2. H. Pung «Thermotropic ionic liquid crystals: Towards tunable_by-design electrolytes« WinterSchool ENGINE2021, 15 Feb. 2021, Grenoble.

Functional materials hierarchically self-assembled across multiple length scales are consubstantial to life, which through continuous and evolutionary processes, master complex functions through balanced implementations of energy generation & storage fundamental processes. Taking lessons from Nature in the ultimate exploitation of functions related to human-engineered (nano)structured materials is seen as a promising springboard towards scientific & technological innovation breakthroughs. Achieving this objective is becoming especially crucial for unlocking transformative progresses aiming at easy and continuous access to decarbonized energy resources through the 21st century. CITADEL is a basic research-grounded attempt to fulfil ambitious scientific and societal challenges through next generation electrochemical energy devices via developing families of tunable-by-design ionically conducting electrolytes relying on simple to implement, scalable and industry-compliant elaboration processes. Its overarching goal is to deliver proof of concept demonstration of efficient nanoconfined ionic transport going beyond current state of the art performances of currently used electrolytes to trigger the dawn of safer-by-design next generations key enabling technology (KET) 2.0 solutions in reply to mankind’s energy needs.

The basic research-oriented core novelty of CITADEL lies in the direct comparison of two types of soft-matter based advanced electrolytes: i) dynamically self-assembled monodomains of Anion/Cation-conducting Thermotropic Ionic Liquid Crystals (A- vs. C-TILCs) enabled through the application of an ac-electric field and ii) long-range ordered single-anion/cation conducting polymerized thin films by in situ photochemical crosslinking reactions onto ac-electric field long-range oriented TILC’s analogous molecules appropriately designed with photocrosslinkable end-moieties to result into single-ion (A or C-)PhotoCrosslinked TILCs. CITADEL is backed on two scientific pillars: i) Pillar I: TILCs (stimuli-responsive & self-healable ionic conductors) and ii) Pillar II: their long-range ordering to allow for disorder-free (i.e. grain boundaries free) electrolytes encoding 1D, 2D & 3D efficient anionic and cationic transport. It specifically addresses two fundamental questions for advanced nanostructured soft-matter based electrolytes: i) the role of (1D vs. 2D vs. 3D) dimensionality onto the percolation (tortuosity issue) and nanoconfinement of charge carriers within multiscale phase-segregated materials with insulating and conducting sub-phases and ii) the mosaicity and the defect management in functional soft matter.

CITADEL is a truly interdisciplinary (chemistry (WP1), physics (WP2), thermodynamic/theory (WP3)) low TRL1-3 collaborative research project (PRC) combining the cross-fertilizing expertise and know-how of its four (inter)nationally recognized teams. SyMMES+PCM2E for their achievements in multiscale structure/property correlations and functional material design for the fields of energy generation and storage, IMP+SyMMES in the synthesis of well-defined ionic liquid-based (nano)materials, and LCH+PCM2E in thermodynamic and simulation of these electrolytic systems. It will involve 82.5 p.m of permanent people and 123 p.m of non-permanent people, cumulating in a 205.5 p.m research effort, i.e. equivalent to ca. 4.9 researchers devoted full time to the development of its scientific program over 42 months. Realizing CITADEL’s ambitious goals will facilitate the lab-to-fab’s implementation KETs seek in the SNRE (Strategic direction 3: §3.1.1/pp 47-48) and is intrinsically part of the orientation 14 of the SNR named "conception of new materials" and concomitantly linked to the direction 1 "basic energy sciences: fundamental, exploratory research, breakthrough concepts to answer the long-term challenges of energy" of the research theme 2.1 (A sustainable, clean, secure and efficient energy) of the 2019 action plan of ANR.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Manuel Marechal (Systèmes Moléculaires et nano Matériaux pour l'Energie et la Santé)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

PCM2E LABORATOIRE DE PHYSICO-CHIMIE DES MATÉRIAUX ET DES ELECTROLYTES POUR L'ENERGIE
LCH LABORATOIRE DE CHIMIE
SyMMES Systèmes Moléculaires et nano Matériaux pour l'Energie et la Santé
IMP INGENIERIE DES MATERIAUX POLYMERES

Help of the ANR 440,153 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2020 - 48 Months

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