The Marbella Lab makes new materials and develops new in situ/operando characterization tools to optimize and understand a variety of electrochemical energy devices, including Li-ion batteries, all-solid-state batteries, and aqueous batteries. We focus on using NMR/MRI to provide molecular-level insight into the amorphous/disordered phases, interfacial phenomena, and dynamic processes that arise during electrochemical cycling. Uniquely, NMR/MRI measurements can be performed as the device is operating, allowing us to correlate atomic-scale processes, such as structural transformations and ionic transport, with battery performance.
The Preindl lab works on the integration and control of electrochemical energy storage for electrified transportation such as electric vehicles. Specific attention is paid to the development of power electronic conversion hardware that can extend the lifetime of battery packs with hundreds or thousands of cells. In addition, we develop high accuracy state-of-charge and state-of-health monitoring and prediction technologies.
The Steingart group focuses on the fundamental analysis of systematic behavior and critical analysis of performance requirements in batteries.
The Urban lab explores many of the limitations in prospective energy storage technologies that are caused by phenomena at materials interfaces. For example in ceramic solid-state batteries (a promising battery technology for electric vehicles) the anode/electrolyte interface is chemically unstable which leads to rapid deterioration. The lifetime of reversible solid oxide fuel and electrolyzer cells for grid-level storage is limited by similar degradation at the electrode/electrolyte interfaces. We employ simulations to better understand how such processes take place on the atomic scale. Using atomistic modeling, we can obtain an understanding of transport mechanisms, phase diagrams, and chemical reactions that affect macroscopic materials and device properties such as the rate capability, voltage, thermal stability, and degradation pathways. Computationally generated insights may then guide the design of improved materials or processing strategies in collaboration with our experimental colleagues at CEEC.
The West group focuses on analysis, characterization and design of electrochemical materials, architectures and systems for storage and conversion applications. Transport, phase-change, and reaction mechanisms are investigated through experiment and numerical simulations. Through close coupling with experiment, predictive, physics-based models, augmented by data-science algorithms, are developed and used as a tool for the creation of technologies satisfying applications ranging from automotive to grid-scale storage.
The Yang lab leverages expertise in batteries to impact clean urban building. Porous P(VdF-HFP), a widely used polymer for preparing gel electrolyte, can generate paint that actively cool buildings by reflecting sunlight and emitting heat into the atmosphere rather than the interior of the building. This cooling paint can be applied to buildings to reduce electricity for air conditioning.