(10f) Materials Development for Electrochemical Applications By Combined Experiment and Theory

Authors: 
Young, M. J., National Institute of Standards and Technology


Materials Development for Electrochemical Applications
 by Combined Experiment and Theory

Matthias J. Young, 2nd Year Posdoctoral Fellow
Applied Chemicals and Materials Division, Materials Measurement Laboratory,
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO 80305Research Interests:

In order to rationally design improved materials for electrochemical applications, we need to understand the origins of electrochemical performance and instability in active materials. This is true for established electrochemical technologies (e.g. lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors), as well as for emerging electrochemical applications (e.g. electrochemical desalination and separation processes). Understanding the performance and instability of active materials during electrochemical operation is a formidable task given the complexity of the physics involved and dynamic material structures present under applied bias. In this poster, I discuss the use of experimental and theoretical techniques to understand where we have been, and help decide where we need to go to improve material performance for electrochemical applications. Specifically, I aim to leverage my background in nanomaterials synthesis and characterization, ab initio materials modelling, and in operandomaterials characterization to improve existing battery materials and develop new materials for emerging applications including anion intercalation electrodes for electrochemical desalination and high rate pseudocapacitive electrodes for grid-level energy storage.

Successful Proposals: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Advanced Photon Source Beam Time, Janus Supercomputer Time (CU-Boulder)

Postdoctoral Project: â??In-situ Measurement and Quantum Simulations of a Layered Double Hydroxide as an Anion Intercalation Electrode for Battery-Inspired Water Desalinationâ?

PhD Dissertation: â??Charge Storage in Thin Films of Cation-Incorporated Manganese Dioxideâ?

Under supervision of Steven M. George & Charles B. Musgrave, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

Research Experience:

I began doing research as an undergraduate freshman in chemical engineering. I helped initiate a project on battery materials, which was a new area for my advisor. I continued this research throughout my undergraduate studies, and became motivated to develop a fundamental understanding of what materials properties dictate electrochemical performance. In graduate school, I sought out advisors who could help me to obtain both a strong theoretical understanding and experimental skill set and was co-advised by experts in computational chemistry and nanomaterial synthesis/characterization. With them, I developed a project aimed at understanding unique charge storage properties in manganese oxide leveraging both computational and experimental skill-sets, and successfully carried out this work under an NSF graduate research fellowship. Last year I received an NRC postdoctoral fellowship to develop new materials for electrochemical anion intercalation and during this postdoc have expanded my skill set to include in operandomaterial characterization using synchrotron techniques.

Teaching Interests:

My first experiences teaching scientific subject matter were as an undergraduate tutor. I had open tutoring office hours during my undergraduate studies covering all of the subject matter from the courses I had taken. The students I tutored gave me positive feedback for my calm and determined assistance, and my office hours were consistently packed with students. As a graduate student at the University of Colorado I worked as an instructor for a K-12 science outreach program. I also TAed and guest-lectured process control for two terms. This included conducting a weekly recitation with new course content and directing a weekly lab. As a postdoc, I co-instructed a graduate quantum simulations course and prepared in-class lectures and workshops. I have also mentored multiple undergraduate and graduate students in a research setting. I would be able to teach any course in the chemical engineering core curriculum, but am especially well-equipped to teach process control and computational methods. I would also be interested in developing an elective in electrochemistry fundamentals.

Future Direction:

As faculty I would like to continue to apply both computational and experimental techniques to advance the understanding of the origins of electrochemical performance and instability in active materials. In particular, I would like to (a) provide insight and help to develop solutions to the materials challenges facing existing battery technologies, (b) develop materials for electrochemical anion intercalation, and (c) develop improved materials for high-rate pseudocapacitive charge storage. For each of these areas, I will work with students to employ state-of-the-art materials synthesis, computational techniques, and in operandomaterials characterization to provide a strong fundamental basis for analysis and interpretation.

The thread that connects all of my research aspirations is the need I see for a fundamental and quantitative understanding of the physical properties that dictate electrochemical performance. With a well-established fundamental understanding, I believe that we will be able to achieve new heights in electrochemical technology because we will be able to intelligently remedy the shortcomings of established technologies, and identify new materials with exciting properties. With optimized anion intercalation electrode materials comes the promise of anion-based batteries and solar-powered energy-efficient water desalination. With improved pseudocapacitive electrode materials comes the promise of battery-like devices with unprecedented charge rates, and capacities. These two stepping stones are only the beginning of a vast expanse of electrochemical technologies I see on the horizon.

Selected Publications:

M.J. Young, C.D. Hare, C.B. Musgrave, S.M. George, â??Rapid Growth of Crystalline Mn5O8 by Self-Limited Multilayer Depsition using Mn(EtCp)2 and O3.â? ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 2016. [online ahead of print]

M.J. Young, M. Neuber, A.S. Cavanagh, H. Sun, C.B. Musgrave, S.M. George, â??Sodium Charge Storage in Thin Films of MnO2 Derived by Electrochemical Oxidation of MnO Atomic Layer Deposition Filmsâ? Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 2015. doi: 10.1149/2.0671514jes

M.J. Young, A.M. Holder, S.M. George, C.B. Musgrave, â??Charge Storage in Cation Incorporated α-MnO2,â? Chemistry of Materials. 2015. doi: 10.1021/cm503544e

D. M. Piper, J. J. Travis, M. Young, S. B. Son, S. C. Kim, K. H. Oh, S. M. George, C. Ban, and S. H. Lee, â??Reversible high-capacity Si nanocomposite anodes for lithium-ion batteries enabled by molecular layer deposition,â? Advanced Materials, 2014. doi: 10.1002/adma.201304714