Li-ion batteries (LIBs) raise safety and environmental concerns, which mostly arise from their toxic and flammable electrolytes and the extraction of limited material resources by mining. Recently, water-in-salt electrolytes (WiSEs), in which a large amount of lithium salt is dissolved in water, have been proposed to allow for assembling safe and high-voltage (>3.0 V) aqueous LIBs. In addition, organic materials derived from abundant building blocks and their tunable properties could provide safe and sustainable replacements for inorganic cathode materials. In the current work, the electrochemical properties of a conducting redox polymer based on poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) with hydroquinone (HQ) pendant groups have been characterized in WiSEs. The quinone redox reaction occurs within the potential region where the polymer is conducting, and fast redox conversion that involves lithium cycling during pendant group redox conversion was observed. These properties make conducting redox polymers promising candidates as cathode-active materials for safe and high-energy aqueous LIBs. An organic-based aqueous LIB, with a HQ-PEDOT as a cathode, Li4Ti5O12 (LTO) as an anode, and ca. 15 m lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide water/dimethyl carbonate (DMC) as electrolyte, yielded an output voltage of 1.35 V and high rate capabilities up to 500C.
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