Proton Conducting Membranes Based on Poly(Ionic Liquids) Having Phosphonium Counter-Cations

Mehmet Isik, Luca Porcarelli, Nerea Lago, Haijin Zhu*, Maria Forsyth, David Mecerreyes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Proton conducting polymeric membranes are highly searched in many different technologies ranging from energy to biosensing. Protic ionic liquids and their polymeric version represent a new family of proton conducting molecules with relatively facile synthesis and excellent properties. In this work, protic poly(ionic liquids) having the most popular phosphonium counter-cations are presented for the first time. The synthesis is carried out through proton transfer reactions or through ion exchange reactions by using commercially available tertiary phosphines. Tributyl-, trioctyl-, and tricyclohexyl-phosphine are selected to form the desired cations. Polystyrene sulfonic acid, poly(2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid), and lithium poly[(4-styrenesulfonyl) (trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide] polymers are used to form the polymeric anions. The chemical structure of the protic poly(ionic liquids) is confirmed by spectroscopic characterizations such as Fourier transform infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies. Thermal properties of the polymer are characterized by means of differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. Polymers exhibit good membrane forming ability as well as high ionic conductivities in the range of 10−8 to 10−3 S cm−1 from 30 to 90 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700627
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • conductivity
  • polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM)
  • protic ionic liquids
  • proton conducting polymers
  • thermal stability


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