476252 Material Interactions and Synergies in Lithium-Air Batteries and Electrochemical Devices

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Forrest Gittleson, Materials Chemistry, Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA

Research Interests:

Energy storage technologies are essential to the security and sustainability of our powered infrastructure. Due to their exceptionally high energy densities, lithium-based batteries have been the beneficiary of intense research and development efforts that now underpin portable electronics, electric vehicles and (soon) the “smart” grid. Research to improve upon or disrupt state-of-the-art Li-ion battery technologies, however, has been painfully slow, especially when compared to advances in semiconductor manufacturing. The complexity of rechargeable batteries, often containing multiple active materials with different cell designs and operating under various load conditions, explains the difficulty of hewing to a straightforward design methodology. My efforts have sought to inject rationality into the development of next-generation battery technologies (Li-air/Li-oxygen systems) with various form factors (ultrathin, transparent Li-ion) by deconvoluting the influences of material interaction and applying those findings to better material selection. My work on Li-air/Li-oxygen batteries has encompassed many aspects of that technology from catalyst-electrolyte synergy, to electrolyte side reactions and anode stability, to in situ and operando studies of redox processes, and reactant transport during cell operation. My work on designing ultrathin Li-ion battery architectures has involved the development of automated, tunable self-assembly techniques with microgram precision. The experimental tools I use to understand material interactions in electrochemical systems are currently being paired with computer simulations (molecular dynamics, density functional calculations and finite element analysis) from my team at Sandia National Laboratories to build our predictive capabilities and anticipate full device behavior. This holistic approach to understanding and improving lithium batteries showcases the benefits of combining materials science, electrochemistry and chemical engineering disciplines to address design challenges in myriad electrochemical systems (i.e. capacitors, sensors, fuel cells, electrolysers).

Research Experience:

My research experience has involved a deep dive into electrochemistry and materials science with projects touching on many energy-related applications. My doctoral work with Prof. André Taylor at Yale University explored the cutting-edge chemistry of catalysts in Li-oxygen systems as well as nanomanufacturing of ultrathin batteries by layer-by-layer (LbL) self-assembly. I have collaborated on projects including the development of metallic glass electrocatalysts for polymer exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, electrodes for microbial fuel cells, as well as electrochemical sensors and conductive thin films. At Sandia National Laboratory, I serve as a co-principal investigator and lead experimentalist for our Li-air battery development team where I interface with computational team members to develop predictive tools for material selection. My experimental focus at Sandia encompasses electrolyte development, particularly involving ionic liquid design, and device prototyping.

Teaching Interests:

My experiences as a teacher and mentor have had a significant impact on my career goals and research program. For three semesters, I served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University in the subjects of environmental engineering and professional ethics. Through these roles, which involved teaching weekly discussion sessions and critiquing student reasoning, I gained insight into methods for introducing and refreshing concepts throughout a term. I delivered guest lectures in graduate courses and an annual Climate and Energy symposium, where I sought to relate new concepts to my audience’s non-technical knowledge. Most influential to my development has been the experience of mentoring numerous undergraduate students in a lab setting, four of whom I worked with for greater than one year and three of whom are cited as co-authors on peer-reviewed publications. With these students, I developed techniques for initiating newcomers into the discipline of electrochemistry and formulated a groundwork for skill development and research contributions. After my mentees transitioned to graduate programs, a battery startup company and the finance industry, I have continued my support. Mentoring fellow graduate students in my group and serving as a regular editor and internal reviewer for their manuscripts has further extended my impact with junior colleagues. I see mentorship and one-on-one interaction with students as critical to ensure difficult concepts are understood and retained. My future teaching will retain this passion for student growth and the formation of strong mentor/mentee relationships.

Successful Proposals:

Porous Liquid Electrolytes for Metal-Air Batteries, Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD), Sandia National Laboratories, 2016 – Principal Investigator

Selected Publications (of 18):

  • Ryu, W.-H.; Gittleson, F.S.; Li, J.; Tong, X.; Taylor, A.D. A New Design Strategy for Observing Lithium Oxide Growth-Evolution Interactions Using Geometric Catalyst Positioning. Nano Lett., 2016. (in press)
  • Gittleson, F.S.; Ryu; W.-H.; Schwab, M.; Tong, X.; Taylor, A.D. Pt and Pd Catalyzed Oxidation of Li2O2 and DMSO during Li-O2 Battery Charging. Chem. Comm., 2016, 52, 6605-6608.
  • Gittleson, F.S.; Hwang, D.; Ryu, W.-H.; Hashmi, S.M.; Hwang, J.; Goh T.; Taylor, A.D. Ultrathin Nanotube/Nanowire Electrodes by Spin-Spray Layer-by-Layer Assembly: A Concept for Transparent Energy Storage. ACS Nano., 2015, 9, 10005-10017.
  • Ryu, W.-H.; Gittleson, F.S.; Schwab, M.; Goh, T., Taylor, A.D. A Mesoporous Catalytic Membrane Architecture for Lithium-Oxygen Battery Systems. Nano Lett., 2015, 15, 434-441.
  • Gittleson, F.S.; Ryu, W.-H.; Taylor, A.D. Operando Observation of the Gold-Electrolyte Interface in Li-O2 Batteries. ACS Appl. Mater. Inter., 2014, 6, 19017-19025.
  • Gittleson, F.S.; Sekol, R.C.; Doubek, G.; Linardi, M.; Taylor, A.D. Catalyst and Electrolyte Synergy in Li-O2 Batteries. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16, 3230-3237.
  • Gittleson, F.S.; Hwang, J.; Sekol, R.C.; Taylor, A.D. Polymer Coating of Vanadium Oxide Nanowires to Improve Cathodic Capacity in Lithium Batteries. J. Mat. Chem. A, 2013, 1, 7979-7984.
  • Gittleson, F.S.; Kohn, D.; Li, X.; Taylor, A.D. Improving the Assembly Speed, Quality, and Tunability of Thin Conductive Multilayers. ACS Nano, 2012, 6, 3703-3711.

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