Roll-to-Roll Functionalization of Polyolefin Separators for High-Performance Lithium-Ion Batteries

Ethan Rao, Brian McVerry, Arie Borenstein, Mackenzie Anderson, Robert S. Jordan, Richard B. Kaner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Modified polyolefin separators fabricated via a roll-to-roll system exhibit markedly improved compatibility with lithium ion battery electrolytes. Zwitterionic molecules containing a perfluorophenyl azide functional group were synthesized and covalently bound to the surface of commercial polyolefin separators via UV-activated photochemistry. A roll-to-roll prototype system was constructed allowing for the functionalization of large areas of separator under ambient conditions at low cost. Lithium-ion battery cells containing the modified separators exhibit superior electrochemical performance using a common commercial electrolyte. The modified separators, both monolayer PE and trilayer PP/PE/PP, are wetted instantly upon contact with liquid electrolytes lacking linear carbonates. These electrolytes have been designed for use in batteries with advanced thermal stability properties and/or higher voltage windows, which have previously been hindered by incompatibility with commercial trilayer polyolefin separators. This scalable modification technique is able to meet the rapidly growing demand for low-cost, high-performance separators for safer lithium-ion batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3292-3300
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number7
StatePublished - 23 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • lithium-ion battery
  • perfluorophenyl azide photochemistry
  • polyolefin separator
  • roll-to-roll process
  • surface modification


Dive into the research topics of 'Roll-to-Roll Functionalization of Polyolefin Separators for High-Performance Lithium-Ion Batteries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this