(6ea) Nanostructured Materials for Next-Generation Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Zamani, S., Cornell University
Joo, Y. L., Cornell University
Research Interests:

As interest in renewable energy grows and demand for electric vehicles strengthens, it is crucial for energy storage technology to improve beyond the currently used lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Lithium-sulfur batteries (Li-S) are one of the most promising battery candidates to replace Li-ion batteries due to their high theoretical specific energy of 2510 W H kg-1. In addition to their many advantages, Li-S batteries still suffer from a number of challenges including safety concerns regarding the presence of flammable liquid electrolytes and polysulfide transport. In my research group I will leverage my background in nanoscale materials and polymer synthesis to design and develop new nanostructured materials for Li-S cathode and separator. Design of tailored materials can solve fundamental Li-S challenges, improve safety. and lead to improved battery performance.

Graphene-based materials will also constitute another area of my research. As a highly conductive carbon with a unique 2-d structure, graphene has received intense academic interest and has promising applications in a large number of fields. In particular, graphene fibers can be produced graphene sheets using wet spinning to form an alternative type of carbon fiber. I will utilize graphene fibers in conjunction with modified cathode composition or as a coating on separators to further improve the Li-S battery performance. Graphene also has promise for biomedical applications, mainly due to its unique electrical and thermal conductivity. I plan to investigate the design of biosensors and drug delivery systems based on graphene and its derivatives. Further, due to multidisciplinary background which includes polymer synthesis, nanomaterials, biomaterials and material/chemical engineering, I am highly enthusiastic about collaborations with other researchers in industry and academia.

Research experience:

Postdoctoral projects

Gel-electrolyte Li-S batteries, Graphene-based materials, Joo Group, Cornell University, 2018-present.

My research background is a mixture of versatile disciplines including polymer synthesis, biomaterials, tissue engineering and material/chemical engineering. My current research is focused on Gel-electrolyte systems in Li-S batteries that have already overcome many challenges in Li-ion batteries. I develop novel gel systems, modify cathode materials and investigate novel compositions as anode materials in Li-S batteries. To further bring my study closer to practical applications in industry, I fabricate Li-S pouch cells in addition to coin cells to obtain high specific capacity Li-S in large sizes. Graphene-based materials is another area of my current research. I was able to develop a simple yet effective method to fabricate graphene fibers with excellent electrical, thermal and mechanical properties.

High internal phase emulsion, Biopolymer/protein interactions, Abbaspourrad Group, Cornell University, 2016-2017.

Prior joining the Robert Frederick Smith school of Chemical Engineering at Cornell University I worked on biopolymer/protein emulsions and their application in food industry. I also investigated protein/surfactant/biopolymer interaction in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. During this time, I had the opportunity to visit a materials science lab in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to work on living radical polymerization and emulsion polymerization.

Biodegradable photo-cured polymers in protein- delivery and tissue engineering, PPDDRL, Qatar University, 2013-2014.

As a postdoctoral fellow at Qatar University in collaboration with University of Bristol the main focus of my research was on biodegradable polymer synthesis, UV-crosslinking, and their thermal, mechanical and chemical characterization. Further, I opened a new route for research in that lab and defined projects based on electrospinning for the Master's and undergraduate students.

PhD dissertation

Biodegradable block copolymer nanoparticles suitable for drug delivery systems, Khoee Lab, University of Tehran, 2007-2012.

Pursuing my passion for polymer chemistry that I had been introduced to during my Master’s project with photoactive poly amide-imides, I continued working in Khoee lab as a grad student and worked on block copolymer synthesis and biodegradable nanoparticles in drug delivery. The synthesized triblock-copolymers were able to self-assemble in aqueous environment and were further modified to a core-shell nanoparticle to improve the pH-sensitivity of the particles for proper targeted delivery of the loaded drug. Along with this project, I was involved in some side projects of electrospun fibers and biodegradation studies.

Selected Publications and Presentations:

  1. Zamani, G. Shebert, R. Zhang, Y. Joo, “Effect of Gel electrolyte on polysulfide transport in Li-S batteries” (Meeting Abstract, The Electrochemical Society, Dallas, TX, May 2019)
  2. Zamani, H. Ismaeil, M. Elrayess, W. Kafienah, H. Younes, “A Biodegradable Photo-Crosslinked Fibrous Elastomer for Cardiac Tissue Engineering Applications” (Meeting Abstract, International Conference on Biopolymers and Bioplastics, Baltimore, MA, March 2019).
  3. AlAmer, S. Zamani, K. Foka, A. Satish and Y.L. Joo, “Preparation of expandable graphite and exfoliated graphene with a Taylor-Couette flow reactor” (under preparation to Advanced Functional Materials).

G.L. Shebert, S. Zamani, and Y.L. Joo, “End-of-discharge failure and recovery in Li-S batteries with liquid and gel electrolyte” (under preparation for Nano Energy).

  1. Hassouna, S. Zamani, H. Younes, “Synthesis & Characterization of Tricarballylate Based Thermally crosslinked Elastomers for Drug Delivery & Tissue Engineering Applications” (Materials Science and Engineering C, 2018, 93, 254-264).
  2. Zamani, N.M. Malchion, M.J. Selig, A. Abbaspourrad, “Formation of shelf stable Pickering high internal phase emulsions (HIPE) through inclusion of whey protein microgels” (Food & Function, 2018).
  3. Abdallah, F. Jalali, S. Zamani, et.al., “Fabrication & Characterization of 3D Electrospun Biodegradable Nanofibers for Wound Dressing, Drug Delivery and Other Tissue Engineering Applications” (Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Volume 4, Number 3, September 2016, pp. 191-201)
  4. Zamani, S. Khoee, “Preparation of Core-Shell Chitosan/PCL-PEG triblock copolymer nanoparticles with ABA and BAB morphologies: effect of intraparticle interactions on physicochemical properties” (Polymer 53, 2012, 5723-5736).

Teaching Interests:

Over the course of academic career my interest and contributions in teaching have grown. During my graduate studies I had the chance to serve as an instructor and teaching assistant for a large number of students in the courses of “General Chemistry” and “Organic Chemistry”, respectively. Later in my postdoctoral fellowship at Qatar University, I was the co-lecturer of “Polymer synthesis and characterization” for graduate students.

More recently, in Spring 2019, I served as the instructor for the General Chemistry labs at State University of New York at Cortland. It was an amazing experience to interact with students who are taking their first steps into the huge world of chemistry. To strengthen my teaching skills, I participated in the Connecting Research Teaching Conference at Cornell University, which discussed high-impact teaching practices and techniques to improve student interaction.

Additionally, over the course of my career I have trained and mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students. I enjoy passing on my experience and knowledge to the students, and it is especially rewarding when my help makes a big difference in their research.

As a faculty, I would be interested in teaching any course related to polymer chemistry and characterization, organic chemistry, materials science and biomaterials. Depending on the department, I would also like to develop new courses on biopolymers and biomaterials.