MSE Seminar Series: Developing and applying new tools to understand.. battery tech function

Friday, May 7, 2021
1:00 p.m.
via Zoom
Sherri Tatum

Title: Developing and applying new tools to understand how materials for Li and "beyond-Li" battery technologies function

Speaker: Clare GreyProfessor, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge


Rechargeable batteries have been an integral part of the portable electronics revolution and are now playing an increasingly important role in transport and grid applications, but the introduction of these devices comes with different sets of challenges. New technologies are being investigated, such as those involving reactions between Li and oxygen/sulfur, using sodium and magnesium ions instead of lithium, or involving the flow of materials in an out of the electrochemical cell (in redox flow batteries). Importantly, fundamental science is key to producing non-incremental advances and to develop new strategies for energy storage and conversion. 

The first part of this talk will focus on our work to develop NMR, MRI and X-ray diffraction methods that allow devices to be probed while they are operating (i.e., operando). This allows transformations of the various cell components to be followed under realistic conditions without having to disassemble and take apart the cell. We can detect side reactions involving the electrolyte and the electrode materials, sorption processes at the electrolyte-electrode interface, and processes that occur during extremely fast charging and discharging.  Many of the battery electrode materials are paramagnetic and their study has involved the development of new experimental (NMR) and theoretical approaches to acquire and interpret spectra. Recent studies to correlate lithium hyperfine shifts with local structure and to probe dynamics will be described, focussing on studies aimed to understand degradation in NMC-811 (Li[Ni0.8Co0.1Mn0.1]O2) – graphite full cells. Finally, new results on redox flow batteries, extremely high rate batteries and novel NMR approaches to study interfaces will be described. 


Clare P. Grey is the Geoffrey-Moorhouse-Gibson and Royal Society Professor of Chemistry at Cambridge University. After receiving a BA and D. Phil. from Oxford University she was a post­doctoral follow at Nijmegen and at DuPont CR&D. She joined the faculty at Stony Brook University in 1994, moving to Cambridge in 2009, maintaining an adjunct position at Stony Brook. Her current research interests include the use of solid-state NMR and diffraction-based methods to determine structure-function relationships in materials for energy storage, conversion and for carbon capture. 

Audience: Campus 

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