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Zhenzhen Yang


My research interests focus on characterizing cathode material physical and chemical properties, understanding the reaction mechanism of solid electrolyte interphases, the degradation mechanisms in operation from aged Li ion batteries.


Research Experience:

 ChemistPost-Test Facility (April 2019-present)

  • Characterized the surface chemistry of materials from novel battery recycling processes to understand the impact of the process on battery performance
  • Developed methods to investigate the structure and chemistry of the electrolyte/electrode interface in novel, multi-valent electrochemical cells
  • Investigated the surface chemistry of Zintl-modified silicon electrodes

Assistant chemist, AARC Project (September 2015-April 2019)

  • Developed and determined the performance of high-energy/high-voltage cathode materials in state-of-the-art, lithium-ion batteries

Post-doc Appointee (June 2012-September 2015)

  • Investigated the electrolyte/electrode charge-transfer processes using modified, thin-film LiMn2O4 electrodes
  • Established method for simultaneous detection of solid electrolyte interphase layer growth on cathodes and anodes in lithium-ion batteries by electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance
  • Performed synchrotron nanotomography of pristine and cycled lithium-ion battery cathode single particles to understand the changes in the surface structure
  • Performed, in-situ X-ray diffraction studies on hybrid electrocatalysts and oxygen cathode material in lithium-air batteries to determine the phases present and changes among them during cycling
  • Journal Publications:
  • Liu, Q., Jiang, W., Munoz, M., Liu, Y., Yang, Z., Bloom, I., Dzwiniel, T., Li, Y., Pupek, K., Zhang, Z. Stabilized Electrode/Electrolyte Interphase by a Saturated Ionic Liquid Electrolyte for High-Voltage NMC532/Si-Graphite Cells. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2020.
  • Gutierrez, A., He, M., Yonemoto, B., Yang, Z., Wang, J., Meyer, H., Thackeray, M., and Croy J. Advancing Lithium- and Manganese-Rich Cathodes through a Combined Electrolyte Additive/Surface Treatment Strategy. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2019, 166, A3896-A3907.
  • Qiu, S., Wu, X., Wang, M., Lucero, M., Wang, J., Yang, Z., Xu, W., Wang, O., Gu, M., Wen, J., Huang, Y., Feng, Z. NASICON-type Na3Fe2(PO4)3 as a low-cost and high-rate anode material for aqueous sodium-ion batteries. Nano Energy, 2019, 64, 103941.
  • Tanim, T., Dufek, E., Evans, M., Dickerson, C., Jackman, R., Jansen, A., Dunlop, A., Trask, S., Yang, Z., Lee E., Bloom, I. Fast Charge Challenges: Variability and Positive Electrode Aging. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2019, 166, A1926-1938.
  • Wang, M., Han, B., Deng, J., Jiang, Y., Zhou, M., Marcos Lucero, Wang, Y.,   Chen, Y., Yang, Z., N’Diaye, A., Wang, Q., Xu, Z., Feng, Z.  Influence of Fe Substitution into LaCoO3 Electrocatalysts on Oxygen-Reduction Activity. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2019, 11, 5682-5686.
  • Chen, L., Warburton, R., Chen, K., Libera, J., Johnson, C., Yang, Z., Hersam, M., Greeley, J., Elam, J. Mechanism for Al2O3 Atomic Layer Deposition on LiMn2O4 from In Situ Measurements and Ab Initio Calculations. Chem, 2018, 4, 2418-2435.
  • Yang, Z., Ford, D., Park, S., Ren, Y., Chan, M., Kim, H., Fister, T., Thackeray, M. Probing the Release and Uptake of Water in α-MnO2•xH2O.  Chem.  Mater., 2017, 29, 1507–1517.
  • Zhang, L., Liu, Y. Key, B., Trask, S., Yang, Z., Lu, W. Silicon nanoparticles: stability in aqueous slurries and the optimization of the oxide layer thickness for optimal electrochemical performance. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9, 32727–32736.
  • Yuan,Y., Zhan, C., He, K., Chen, H., Yao, W., Sharifi-Asl, S., Song, B., Yang, Z., et al. The Influence of Large Cations on the Electrochemical Properties of Tunnel-Structured Metal Oxides. Nat. Commun., 2016, 7, 13374.
  • Zhou D., Peer M., Yang, Z., Pol V., Key, F., Jorne, J., Foley, H., Johnson, C. Long cycle life microporous spherical carbon anodes for sodium-ion batteries derived from furfuryl alcohol. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 6271-6275.
  • Yang, Z., Dixon, M. Trahey, L. Erck, R. Quantification of the Mass and Viscoelasticity of Interfacial Films on Tin Anodes using EQCM-D. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2015, 7, 26585–26594.
  • Yang, Z., Gewirth, A. Trahey, L. Investigation of Fluoroethylene Carbonate Effects on Tin-based Lithium-Ion Battery Electrodes. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2015, 7, 6557–6566.
  • Yang, Z., Trahey, L., Chan, M., Lin, C., Okasinski, J., Xu, T., Thackeray, M., Ren, Y. In-Situ High-Energy Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction Studies and Theoretical Modeling of α-MnO2 Electrodes in Li-O2 and Li-ion Coin Cells. J. Mater. Chem.  A, 2015, 3, 7389-7398.
  • Hubaud, A; Yang Z., Dogan, F, Trahey, L., Vaughey, J. Interfacial Study of the Role of SiO2 on Si Anodes using Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance. J. Power Sources, 2015, 282, 639–644.
  • Yang, Z., Ingram, B. Trahey, L. Interfacial Studies of Li-Ion Battery Cathodes using in situ Electrochemical Quartz Microbalance with Dissipation. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2014, 161, A1127-A1131.
  • Co-authored Patents and Applications
  • Surface stabilized cathode material for lithium ion batteries and synthesizing method of the same. US Patent # 10,597,307, March 24, 2020.

  • Cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries.  US Patent # 10,164,256, December 25, 2018.

  • Cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. US Patent # 10,141,572, Nov 27, 2018.
  • Oxide mixture and complex oxide coatings for cathode materials. US Patent Application 16/529545, 20200044242.
  • Cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. US Patent Application 16/178304, 20190074514.
  • Cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. US Patent Application 15/804186, 20180062156.
  • Surface stabilized cathode material for lithium ion batteries and synthesizing method of the same. 15/710540, 20180079655.
  • Cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. US Patent Application 15/458618, 20170263929.


  1. Argonne Commercialization Excellence Rising Star Award, 2018.
  2. Pacesetter Award, Argonne National Lab, 2017.
  3. NIU Outstanding Graduate Student Award, 2011.
  4. NIU Most Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2011.
  5. NIU Outstanding Women Student Award, 2011.
  6. Argonne-NIU Distinguished Graduate Student Nanoscience Fellowships, 2009-2011.
  7. Lanzhou University Outstanding Students Scholarships, 2002-2005.
  8. Lanzhou University Pacemaker to Outstanding Students Award, 2003.