The evolution of cyclopropenium ions into functional polyelectrolytes.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6950
Versatile polyelectrolytes with tunable physical properties have the potential to be transformative in applications such as energy storage, fuel cells and various electronic devices. Among the types of materials available for these applications, nanostructured cationic block copolyelectrolytes offer mechanical integrity and well-defined conducting paths for ionic transport. To date, most cationic polyelectrolytes bear charge formally localized on heteroatoms and lack broad modularity to tune their physical properties. To overcome these challenges, we describe herein the development of a new class of functional polyelectrolytes based on the aromatic cyclopropenium ion. We demonstrate the facile synthesis of a series of polymers and nanoparticles based on monomeric cyclopropenium building blocks incorporating various functional groups that affect physical properties. The materials exhibit high ionic conductivity and thermal stability due to the nature of the cationic moieties, thus rendering this class of new materials as an attractive alternative to develop ion-conducting membranes.