University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
My group creates electroanalytical techniques and strategies to control materials and interfacial reactivity for applications in energy storage and conversion. In this seminar, I will discuss how new polymeric and low-dimensional materials, as well as an expanded electroanalytical toolbox for understanding interfaces and nanomaterials, are allowing us to discover new synergies at the nano- and mesoscale for emerging battery technologies. I will describe systems where nano-scale heterogeneity has an impact on macro-scale battery performance. A first case involves the use of novel redox active polymers (RAPs) for size-selective flow batteries. Our highly collaborative work in this field takes place within the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, and is aimed at discovering new chemistries for energy storage beyond lithium-ion. Our investigations on RAPs span across several areas of knowledge, from the interrogation of individual polymer particles, to the elucidation of new redox polyelectrolyte dynamics, and to the evaluation of flow battery performance. A second case involves the creation of techniques to better understand intercalation on 2D nanomaterials and their complex interfacial behavior. My group has introduced scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) methods that uniquely probe electronic and ionic processes. Using these and other tools, we are starting to understand fundamental balances between electrons and ions that we hope will have an impact on diverse energy conversion and storage technologies.