Energy storage in the electrochemical form is attractive because of its high efficiency and fast response time. New and improved materials for electrochemical energy storage are urgently required to enable the effective use of renewable energy sources. All electrochemical energy storage and conversion materials function as “living” systems (batteries and fuel cells), within which electrons and ions are moving during charge and discharge. These electronic and ionic motions often trigger defect generation and phase transformations, and consequently result in significant changes in energy density and power capability of the materials. Establishing the fundamental basis for these dynamical mechanisms during electrochemical processes will accelerate the creation of new synthetic materials with superior energy storage and conversion properties.
In this seminar, I will talk about the recent efforts on “closing the gap” between the theoretical and practical energy density of the state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries. Furthermore I will discuss a few new perspectives for energy storage materials including atomistic modeling and design of novel energy storage materials and operando characterizations. I hope to demonstrate how we can combine knowledge-guided synthesis, advanced characterization and computational modeling to develop and optimize long-life high performance energy storage and conversion materials.