The role of the electrolyte in non-conjugated radical polymers for metal-free aqueous energy storage electrodes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Metal-free aqueous batteries can potentially address the projected shortages of strategic metals and safety issues found in lithium-ion batteries. More specifically, redox-active non-conjugated radical polymers are promising candidates for metal-free aqueous batteries because of the polymers' high discharge voltage and fast redox kinetics. However, little is known regarding the energy storage mechanism of these polymers in an aqueous environment. The reaction itself is complex and difficult to resolve because of the simultaneous transfer of electrons, ions and water molecules. Here we demonstrate the nature of the redox reaction for poly(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinyloxy-4-yl acrylamide) by examining aqueous electrolytes of varying chao-/kosmotropic character using electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring at a range of timescales. Surprisingly, the capacity can vary by as much as 1,000% depending on the electrolyte, in which certain ions enable better kinetics, higher capacity and higher cycling stability.

published proceedings

  • Nat Mater

altmetric score

  • 316.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Ma, T., Li, C., Thakur, R. M., Tabor, D. P., & Lutkenhaus, J. L.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Ma, Ting||Li, Cheng-Han||Thakur, Ratul Mitra||Tabor, Daniel P||Lutkenhaus, Jodie L

publication date

  • April 2023