I’m fortunate and honored to have received an NSF CAREER Award to use synchrotron techniques to continue studying the Mn-Bi interaction in rechargeable alkaline batteries. The full title of the project is “Engineering electrochemical reversibility in disordered materials for high energy density batteries.” Special thanks to Dr. Andrea Bruck and Matthew Kim, whose data were essential to the proposal. Northeastern did a nice magazine writeup about the project, which has a subheading called “Saving the World,” a level of drama/sincerity that I wholeheartedly endorse.

New MS graduates

Congratulations to new MS graduates Max Ulbert and Tristi Owen. Max worked on thermally-drawn Zn-ion solid state fiber batteries, and Tristi studied particle morphology during discharge of Bi-modified MnO2 cathodes for aqueous rechargeable batteries.

EDXRD review paper

We have a new paper out, which is a review paper on using energy dispersive X-ray diffraction (EDXRD) for battery characterization. EDXRD had previously been used to get crystallography data from inside diamond anvil cells, and also from the bulk interior of engineering materials like turbine blades. Using it to look inside sealed batteries was a good idea. It wasn’t my idea, but I’m one of the battery people they found to try it. I have a passion for current distributions, and EDXRD is a wonderful way to directly observe current distributions.

The paper was written with Amy Marschilok and the Takeuchi group at Stony Brook, and also with Mark Croft at Rutgers. We’re still using EDXRD to watch complex mechanisms inside batteries (without the fear that opening the battery will change anything), but since the review paper spans 2012-2020, it was a good idea to catalog past work in one place. The new HEX beamline under development at NSLS-II will be the premier EDXRD resource sometime soon. The figure below is an attempt to explain what exactly EDXRD gets you (atomic scale information, as a function of the electrode scale) and why it’s important (look how thick that electrode is). If you ever want to talk about EDXRD drop me a line.