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John T. Vaughey

Senior Chemist/Group Leader

Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of Materials for Energy Storage


John (Jack) Vaughey is an expert in the design, synthesis, and characterization of next generation materials with applications in energy storage. Work includes cathodes for lithium, silver, calcium, and magnesium-ion systems, new lithium-ion anode materials based on intermetallic, silicon, and Zintl phases, and Non-Aqueous Organic Redox Flow Batteries for grid storage applications.


  • Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.  Ph.D. Inorganic Materials Chemistry. 
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA.  B.Sc. in Chemistry

Awards & Honors

  • Pacesetter Award (ANL) for the Development of the Intermetallic Anode (2000)
  • Outstanding Mentor Award from US Department of Energy, Office of Science (2008)
  • Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program, University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2017-18)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2018)

Research Interests

  • Beyond Lithium-Ion Cathodes (2011-present)
    • JCESR Office of Science Innovation Hub Science effort; Research program design and organization.
    • Creator/author JCESR Beyond Lithium-Ion Program, Multivalent Chemistry (2011-2018)
    • Creator/co-author JCESR Grid Storage Program, Non-Aqueous Organic Flow Batteries (2011-13)
    • Co-author/Contributor JCESR Beyond Lithium-Ion Program, Materials Complexity (2018-pres)
    • Design and synthesis of multivalent electroactive materials and electrolytes: Mgx[V2O5] * xH2O, Znx[MnO2], Cax[NiFe(CN)6], Mgx[Cr2O4], Mgx[M2O4], Mgx[DMBQ]
  • LIB Cathodes (1992-present)
    • Multi-electron Cathodes: Synthesis, structure and properties of transition metal phosphates. Demonstrated reversible two electron storage in the novel cathode e-VOPO4.
    • Lithium-rich NMC Cathodes Li2MnO3-LiMO2  - a family of high capacity lithium-ion battery cathodes with applications in electric vehicles (1998-2015)
    • Surface stability of Ni-rich NMC Cathodes (NMC622, NMC811) - surface chemistry, lithium transport in solids, and electrolyte-based degradation mechanisms (2015-pres)
    • Co-author/Lead ReCell LIB Direct Recycling Program; develop and evaluate methodologies to relithiate recovered NMC cathode materials (2018-pres). 
    • Co-author/Lead ReCell LIB Upcycling Program; develop methodologies to upgrade the stoichiometry of recovered NMC cathode materials (2018-pres). 
  • Ag-based Primary Cathodes (1999-2006)
    • Ag4V2O6F2 (SVOF, w NU) - a high capacity primary cathode for the medical battery field
    • AgCuO2  - a high oxidation state copper-based delafossite structure.
  • Next Generation Anodes (2009-present)
    • Co-discovery of Li-Mg-Si ternary Zintl phases as surface stabilization materials for high capacity LIB anode materials; demonstration of high capacity full cells with NMC cathodes.
    • Synthesis and characterization of bulk silicon compounds, thin films, and silicon Zintl phases.  Worked with team to evaluate electrochemical properties and stability using  MAS-NMR, EQCM-D, and various electrochemical methods.
    • Creation of a porous All-Inorganic Silicon Electrode based on metallic copper binders and a CuxSi interfacial compound.
    • Mechanistic studies: utilized X-Ray Tomography to capture the role of porosity and inhomogeneity in a composite silicon electrode design. 
    • Design, synthesis, and characterization of in-situ formed Zintl coatings to stabilize silicon anodes.
  • Porous Electrode Design (2000-2012)
    • Creation of porous and structurally stable 3d Li4Ti5O12 electrodes (w/ NU)
    • Creation of a porous All-Inorganic Silicon Electrode based on the use of copper metal binders and a CuxSi interfacial compound
    • Cu6Sn5 on electrodeposited porous copper, Cu2Sb on Cu Foam - a family of dense compounds and porous structures that combine high capacity with high rate.
  • Grid Storage (2005-2012)
    • Established Argonne Grid Storage effort based on redox flow batteries (w A. Jansen).
    • Developed the underlying chemical concepts for an organic flow battery electrode. Demonstrated reversible electrochemical activity with quinoxalines as an organic redox flow battery anode material (w F. Brushett) 
    • Co-invented the Non-Aqueous Organic Redox Flow Battery based on demonstrated concepts.
  • LIB Intermetallic Anodes (1994-2008
    • Cu2Sb, Cu6Sn5, Mn2Sb, and related systems - a family of high capacity electroactive materials for lithium-ion batteries based on a novel storage mechanism
    • Created thin film electrodes of various copper-based intermetallics for medical battery applications.
    • Synthesis, structures & properties of compounds in the Na-Sn system
  • Lithium Metal (2007 - 2011)
    • Studied the stability and morphology of lithium metal versus electrolytes and cycling conditions (w C. Lopez, D. Dees). 
    • Devised a Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAM) approach to protecting lithium metal surfaces using silane-based materials
    • Adapted SAM-stabilized lithium metal electrodes to Li-Air cells.
  • Liquid Electrolytes (2006-2016)
    • Synthesis, 7Li variable temperature NMR, and stability of LIB electrolytes based on ketone-based solvents.
    • Creation of high voltage Mg-ion based electrolytes for Beyond-Lithium-ion chemistries based on the Mg(TFSI)2 / glyme system.
  • Solid State Electrolytes (2009-2013)
    • Created EERE Solid Ceramic Electrolyte Program (w John Newman (UCB))
    • (Li,Al)Ti2(PO4)3  (processing, stability), Li7La3Zr2O12 (thin films, doping, thermal expansion)
    • Determined the role of high temperature Al(III) diffusion in controlling phase transitions in the Li7La3Zr2O12 systems (bulk)

Professional Service

  • Member, Technical Advisory Board, Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI), University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA (2007-present)
  • Associate Editor, Materials Research Bulletin, 2011-present
  • Editorial Board, Chemistry of Materials, 2011-present
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, Annual Conference on Magnesium-ion Batteries, Ulm, Germany (2016-present)
  • Electrochemical Society Toyota Young Investigator Award Committee (2017-18)
  • Electrochemical Society Battery Division Technology Award, Committee (2017-18)
  • The Electrochemical Society, Battery Division, Member-at-Large (2018-pres)
  • ARPA-E Panel Review, 2012 - 2015
  • NSF Panel Reviewer, 2015-pres
  • Organizing Committee, 7th International Symposium on Inorganic Phosphate Materials (2011)
  • Co-organizer International Battery Association Conference on Manganese Dioxide (2000)
  • Symposium Lead Organizer, Beyond Li-Ion Batteries, 232nd Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, National Harbor, MD (2017)
  • Symposium Lead Organizer, Lithium-Ion Batteries and Beyond, 233rd Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, Seattle, WA (2018)
  • Argonne National Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Committee, Chemical Engineering Division, 2005-2008.
  • Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Strategic Planning Lead for Interfacial Science, 2018
  • Argonne Maria Goeppert Meyer Named Fellowship Advisory Committee, co-chair, 2018-pres
  • Argonne Walter Massey Named Fellowship Advisory Commitee, co-chair, 2021-pres


  • American Chemical Society
  • The Electrochemical Society
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Publications and Patents

  • ~180 Publications covering cathodes (lithium-ion, lithium-rich lithium ion, Mg-ion, medical), anodes (lithium metal, intermetallics, silicon), electrolytes (NASICONs, garnets, Mg salts),  and organic flow batteries (materials design)
  • ~30 US Patents/Applications on battery, fuel cell, high Tc materials.