Method—Using Microelectrodes to Explore Solid Polymer Electrolytes
Solid polymer electrolytes are an emerging technology in electrochemistry driven by their use in energy applications such as fuel cells, electrolyzers, and solid-state batteries. Compared to traditional liquid electrolytes, solid polymer electrolytes provide safer, cheaper, and potentially improved device performance. However, there is a lack of standard experimental methods for studying solid electrolytes. Microelectrodes have inherent benefits capable of filling this experimental gap due primarily to their integration into model electrochemical cells with solid electrolytes that represent complex interfaces, enabling additional insight into reaction processes. In this tutorial review, we explore the use of microelectrodes to study solid polymer electrolytes, beginning with a brief history of the field including common experimental cell designs and their benefits and drawbacks. Methods of evaluating essential kinetic and mass-transport parameters are then examined. In addition, the key studies of the past 30 years utilizing microelectrode cells and solid polymer electrolytes are summarized, with important results highlighted and compared. Finally, future studies of solid polymer electrolytes with microelectrodes and potential new avenues of research are commented on.