Development of low-temperature ionic liquid-organic solvents-salt electrolyte systems for MET seismometer
Ionic liquids boast a wide variety of application as modern electrolytes. Their unique collection of attributes, most notably insignificant vapor pressures, considerable ionic conductivity, and excellent thermal stability, prove ionic liquids excellent candidates for low-temperature electrolyte applications. This project focuses on the development of a low-temperature iodide-based ionic liquid electrolyte for a molecular electronic transducer (MET) seismometer. Based on ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium iodide ([BMIM][I]), a functional electrolyte system is developed and optimized with addition of organic solvents, gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and propylene carbonate (PC), and lithium iodide, showing the promise of operating at excessively low temperatures. The molecular interactions between [BMIM][I] and the organic solvents were classified using FTIR and 1H NMR spectroscopy. Specifically, the presence of hydrogen bonding between the carbonyl group on the organic solvents and the [BMIM]+ cation were captured. The effect of these interactions on several electrolyte properties were observed, including an extended glass transition temperature (Tg) of -120.2 °C and enhanced transport properties. When compared to the previous formulations, the optimized electrolyte exhibits a broader working temperature range, a higher fluidity over the temperature range from 25°C to -75 °C, and an enhanced ionic conductivity at temperatures below -70 °C as suggested by the Vogel–Fulcher–Tammann (VFT) model. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) confirmed the electrochemical stability of the electrolyte as well as the activity of the I3- / I- redox reaction for the MET sensing technology at room temperature. The presented works not only present a facile strategy of designing low-temperature electrolyte systems via design of molecular interactions, but also support future operations of MET seismometer.