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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. Experience includes cathodes for lithium, silver, calcium, and magnesium-ion systems, new lithium-ion anode materials based on intermetallic 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)

Research Interests

  • Beyond Lithium-Ion Cathodes (2011-present)
    • Co-created and organized the Science effort for JCESR (a DOE Energy Innovation Hub); creator/author Multivalent Chemistry, creator/co-author Non-Aqueous Organic Flow Batteries; Research program design and organization.
    • Design and synthesis of multivalent electroactive materials and electrolytes: Mgx[V2O5] * xH2O, Znx[MnO2], Cax[NiFe(CN)6], 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 Cathodes Li2MnO3-LiMO2  - a family of high capacity lithium-ion battery cathodes with applications in electric vehicles.
    • Ni-rich Cathodes (NMC333, NMC811) - surface chemistry, lithium transport in solids, electrolyte-based degradation mechanisms, ion exchange properties
  • Ag-based Primary Cathodes (1999-2006)
    • Ag4V2O6F2 (SVOF, w NU) - a high capacity primary cathode for the medical battery field
    • AgCuO2  - a high copper oxidation state delafossite-type structure.
  • Next Generation Anodes (2009-present)
    • Understanding high capacity anode materials based on Li-Si Zintl chemistry concepts
    • Synthesis and characterization of bulk silicon compounds, thin films, and silicon Zintl phases.  Evaluated electrochemical properties and stability using  MAS-NMR, EQCM-D, and various electrochemical methods.
    • Creation of a porous All-Inorganic Silicon Electrode based on copper metal binders and a CuxSi interfacial compound.
    • Mechanistic studies: utilized X-Ray Tomography to capture the role of porosity and inhomogeneity in composite silicon electrode design. 
  • 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-created 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)

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 Named Fellowship Advisory Committee, 2018-pres


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

Publications and Patents

  • ~150 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.