Our research addresses key issues associated with a variety of energy storage chemistries including lithium-ion, lithium-sulfur, lithium-air, magnesium-ion, sodium-ion, and non-aqueous/aqueous organic redox flow batteries.
The Electrolyte Research Group emphasizes organic synthesis and material electrochemical properties as a means to reveal the structure-property relationships in organic materials, allowing us to discover new materials with tailored functionalities and properties for energy storage applications. Using our expertise in variety of synthetic chemical disciplines including organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, polymer chemistry, in combination with electrochemistry and spectroscopy with the aid of high-throughput quantum chemistry modeling on the material’s basic structure and electronic properties, we have the capability to design and create the next generation of materials to move the field forward.
Our group works on a portfolio of projects funded by DOE-EERE, DOE-BES and DOE-ARPA-E. Highlights of our group’s recent research activities include:
- Expanding the voltage window of electrolytes by introducing electron-withdrawing groups (F, fluorinated alkyl) on the molecular skeleton of SOA solvents to enhance the oxidation stability of the electrolyte on the charged surfaces of 5-V LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4spinel and nickel-rich layered cathode materials at voltages > 4.5 V vs Li+/Li.
- Creating sparingly solvating electrolytes for lithium-sulfur batteries by studying the effect of the ether fluorination on solvation, viscosity and polysulfide (Li2Sx) dissolution.
- Rational design of electrolyte additives to afford batteries with additional functionalities, including 1) redox shuttle (RS) additives to provide intrinsic overcharge protection for lithium-ion batteries, and 2) electrode passivation additives by sacrificial decomposition to provide kinetic stability at the electrode/electrolyte interface.
- Redox-active organic molecules (ROMs) and polymers (RAPs) for non-aqueous/aqueous redox flow batteries. We systematically study the substitution effect of dimethoxybenzene and TEMPO based molecules, and seek to understand the stability mechanism by using spectroscopy and electrochemical approaches. Furthermore, we design and develop novel ROMs with improved stability.
- Magnesium-ion battery electrolytes based on magnesium hexamethyldisilazide (Mg(HMDS)2) and magnesium chloride (MgCl2) enabling a reversible Mg deposition/dissolution with a coulombic efficiency > 99%. Study the effect of MgCl2on the enhancement of Mg deposition in magnesium phenoxides and Grignard reagents.