Macfarlane Research Group at MIT
Position: Undergraduate Researcher (UROP)
One of the big challenges in the field of batteries is understanding how lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode when charging and discharging. The two ends of the battery need a membrane between them that allows Li+ to flow but does not allow electrical conductivity. A promising material for this membrane is polyethyleneoxide (PEO), but it is limited by the inability to control its morphology, as the polymer chains tend to crystallize and suppress ion transport. This project investigated PEO membranes composed of polymer brushes. The objective was to synthesize PEO grafted to silica nanoparticles and then to characterize the polymers to measure their ion transport.