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Polymer-based thin-film batteries

The large area of organic electronics includes many modern applications, among which are smart textiles, smart packaging, and the “Internet of Things”. For example, mobile sensors or flexible displays can be reliably supplied with energy. As an alternative to classic, metal-based batteries (lithium, nickel, cobalt, etc.), polymer active materials and electrolytes are developed at HIPOLE Jena. These offer a much safer raw material base and disposal, superior charging times and discharge performance as well as increased safety and reduced toxicity of the materials used. Furthermore, polymer active materials enable the production of mechanically flexible, custom-made batteries through printing techniques.

Depending on the chosen molecular design(especially concerning electron affinity), polymeric active materials can be used in both battery anodes and cathodes, thereby enabling the development of fully organic as well as hybrid (metal-organic) energy storage devices. It must be noted that most polymer active materials only offer limited electrical conductivity, so composite electrodes that also contain a conductive additive (e.g. carbon nanoparticles or nanotubes) and a (polymeric) binder material are used.

In addition to active materials, polymer electrolytes are also developed at HIPOLE Jena. These are (hydro)gel and solid electrolytes that offer increased safety (no leaking liquids) as an alternative to classic liquid electrolytes. In addition, the elimination of the separator and the possibility of processing using different coating methods simplifies the production using printing techniques and roll-to-roll processes.

HIPOLE Jena has the necessary equipment to produce polymer-based thin-film batteries such as coin cells, Swagelok cells, and pouch cells to be able to represent different levels of technology readiness.

HIPOLE Jena is involved in the DFG priority program “Polymer-based Batteries” (SPP 2248):

  • Influence of the electrolyte composition on the stability of polymer materials for organic radical batteries (ElectroPoly) (Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert, Prof. Dr. Andrea Balducci)
  • Development of active materials for organic batteries based on electropolymerized polymers with stable organic radicals (Dr. Christian Friebe, Dr. Stephan Kupfer)
  • Exploration and Optimization of Thiol-containing Conductive Polymer and Covalent Organic Frameworks as Cathode Materials in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries: Synthesis, Operando Analysis, and Simulation (Prof. Dr. Yan Lu, Dr. Sebastian Risse, Prof. Dr. Joachim Dzubiella)
  • Characterization of fabrication-microstructure-property relationships for polymer-based battery materials, combining tomographic 3D imaging with modeling and simulation (Dr. Ingo Manke, Prof. Dr. Thomas Carraro, Prof. Dr. Volker Schmidt)