Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy has been utilized to investigate the dynamics of poly(ethylene oxide)-based lithium sulfonate ionomer samples that have low glass transition temperatures. 1H and 7Li spin-lattice relaxation times (T1) of the bulk polymer and lithium ions, respectively, were measured and analyzed in samples with a range of ion contents. The temperature dependence of T1 values along with the presence of minima in T1 as a function of temperature enabled correlation times and activation energies to be obtained for both the segmental motion of the polymer backbone and the hopping motion of lithium cations. Similar activation energies for motion of both the polymer and lithium ions in the samples with lower ion content indicate that the polymer segmental motion and lithium ion hopping motion are correlated in these samples, even though lithium hopping is about ten times slower than the segmental motion. A divergent trend is observed for correlation times and activation energies of the highest ion content sample with 100% lithium sulfonation due to the presence of ionic aggregation. Details of the polymer and cation dynamics on the nanosecond timescale are discussed and complement the findings of X-ray scattering and quasi-elastic neutron scattering experiments.

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