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Physical Sciences and Engineering

Electrochemical Science

The Electrochemical Science group studies the synthesis, structure, and transport properties of materials at the interface between electroactive materials and either a liquid or solid electrolyte.

The Electrochemical Science group emphasizes materials synthesis, design of next generation electroactive materials, and structure-property relationships in electrochemical energy storage systems with an emphasis on developing an understanding of the transport of cations across electrochemical interfaces.

Materials Synthesis: We collaborate across Argonne in the areas of materials design and synthesis, crystal growth, thin-film deposition, and electrochemical evaluation.  Areas of interest include energy storage materials (cathode, anode, solid electrolytes), three dimensional electrode structures, new electrolytes, and identification of new materials.  

Transport studies are an important part of the work we do across our groups research programs.  As an electrochemical materials and characterization group, the movement of cations (anions) across boundaries is a key aspect of much of our efforts.  We utilize a variety of methods to track cation (anion) movement including variable temperature multinuclear NMR, impedance spectroscopy, and blocking electrode studies, to gain a better understanding of the role of defects, structure, and local environment on the observed properties.

Photo-Assisted Electrochemistry The interaction of white light and lithium-ion battery cathodes has been found to enhance the rate capability of materials in an electrochemical cell. This project uses detailed characterization methods, cell design, and modeling efforts to better understand the observation that the rate capability of an electrochemical cell can be enhanced by interactions with white light.

Across Argonne, we are active members of 

  • Silicon Consortium Program (SCP) EERE (VTO): SCP is focused on identifying and solving the underlying causes of performance fade and its relationship to calendar life in Li-ion cells that contain silicon. The program is a collaboration between Argonne, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 
  • Sodium-ion batteries (ABR): While lithium-ion systems have become established in several markets, alternative systems based on sodium-ions are under consideration due to advantages including lower materials costs and low state-of-charge safety.   Our focus is on the development and understanding of next generation materials systems based on new sodium-ion anode  (e.g. NaPb, Na3P) and cathode materials.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Cathode Recycling (ReCell) : We combine new synthetic approaches with an understanding of the role of processing, sample history, and defect chemistry to identify new routes to reestablishing the electrochemical performance of recycled lithium-ion battery cathode materials. The program is a collaboration Argonne, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Michigan Technological University, and the University of California at San Diego.
  • Earth Abundant Cathode Active Materials (EaCAM):  EEREs (VTO) Earth Abundant Cathode Program is a collaboration between Argonne, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  The effort seeks to identify strategies to increase the amount of earth-abundant materials in lithium-ion electrochemical cells.
  • Solid State Electrolytes: EERE Battery Manufacturing Program effort (led by Tim Fister) working with Polyplus to identify the source of defects in sulfide glasses that impact the stability of solid state electrolytes.