Our research explored ionic liquids as an alternative electrolyte for the electrodeposition of metals. Using a small subset of the thousands of ionic liquids possible, we studied the effect of ionic liquid anions on metal diffusion and reduction. In parallel, we used molecular dynamics to elucidate metal solvation behavior and to compute solvation energies of metal ions in ionic liquids. We demonstrated the ability to electrodeposit metals from ionic liquids, including aluminum, which cannot be electrodeposited from water.
Our results advanced the field of electrodeposition from ionic liquids by providing a stable reference electrode to compare experimental results in many different ionic liquids. Additionally, we provided the first study of how anions affect reduction potentials of metals, and we determined a framework for computing reduction potentials in ionic liquids. The project has also laid the groundwork for electrodepositing metals such as beryllium to reduce the expense of Inertial Confinement Fusion ablators.
Our work supports Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's inertial fusion science and technology mission focus area as well as NNSA's goal of advancing the science, technology, and engineering competencies that are the foundation of the NNSA mission. Our results have made the Laboratory a recognized leader in electrochemistry in ionic liquids.
Horwood, C., and M. Stadermann. 2018. "Evaluation of a Ag/Ag2S Reference Electrode with Long-Term Stability for Electrochemistry in Ionic Liquids." Electrochemistry Communications 88: 105-8. doi:/10.1016/j.elecom.2018.02.005. LLNL-JRNL-742242.
——— . 2018. "Evaluation of a Ag/Ag2S reference electrode with long-term stability for electrochemistry in ionic liquids." Gordon Research Conference on Electrochemistry, January 2018. LLNL-POST-755695.
——— . 2019. "Investigation of Metal Ion Diffusion and Reduction Potential in Several Ionic Liquids." 236th Electrochemical Society Meeting, October 2019. LLNL-PRES-793745.
——— . 2019. "Water is so 1900s! Ionic Liquids: Designer Solvents for Metal Electroplating in the 21st century." Directors All Hands Meeting, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, June 2019. LLNL-PRES-760289.
——— . 2019. "Electrochemistry in Ionic Liquids: Developing Stable and Reproducible Reference Electrodes." Gordon Research Conference on Ionic Liquids, August 2018. LLNL-POST-756206.
Pham, T. 2018. "Interfacial Electrochemistry: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Experiments." Northwest Regional Meeting (NORM) of the American Chemical Society, 2018. LLNL-PRES-753613.
——— . 2018. "Solvation Properties of Silver and Copper Ions in a Room Temperature Ionic Liquid: A First-Principles Study." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 122: 12139-46. LLNL-JRNL-778779.
——— . 2019. "Solvation Properties of Silver and Copper Ions in a Room Temperature Ionic Liquid: A First-Principles Study." Presentation, 236th Electrochemical Society Meeting, October 2019. LLNL-PRES-793940.
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