Research

Today’s batteries meet only some of their targeted performance metrics. Meeting all of the metrics for a given application requires new materials with transformative behavior, such as simultaneously achieving high reactivity, high mobility and high stability in electrodes, or high selectivity and stability at low cost in membranes. Such transformative materials are not readily available in nature; they must be designed based on an intimate knowledge of the atomic and molecular origins of the targeted behavior.

Imagine the impact on battery science and technology of a unified description of ion solvation in liquids and solids at the atomic level, a template for designing redox active multimers (redoxmers) that allows adjusting reactivity, solubility, and stability independently, or a full understanding of the roles of defects in crystals and heterogeneity at interfaces on overall materials behavior.

Breakthroughs in these areas would permanently alter the face of battery and electrochemical science and would lead to a blossoming of new materials with unique electroactive function. Most importantly, these three fundamental breakthroughs would usher in a new era of constructionist “bottom up” atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule materials design, with each atom or molecule playing a prescribed role in producing a targeted overall behavior.

The bottom up approach enables making materials that simultaneously meet multiple performance requirements that are often anti-correlated such as high reactivity and long lifetime, a pervasive challenge for electrochemistry. JCESR takes concrete steps toward achieving fundamental breakthroughs like these and demonstrating a new bottom up constructionist approach to designing and discovering electrochemical materials.

To achieve these objectives JCESR is organized around five research Thrusts that, taken together, will create transformative materials that meet all the performance metrics for a given application. These Thrusts and the specific measurable science directions are: Liquid Solvation Science, Solid Solvation Science, Flowable Redoxmer Science, Charge Transfer at Dynamic Interfaces, and Science of Material Complexity.

This "spider graphic" pictorially represents the challenge of meeting all the performance targets for batteries for electric vehicles. JCESR’s overarching strategy - building materials from the bottom up, atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule - eliminates "negotiating with the battery" to achieve some performance metrics at the expense of others.
This “spider graphic” pictorially represents the challenge of meeting all the performance targets for batteries for electric vehicles. JCESR’s overarching strategy – building materials from the bottom up, atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule – eliminates “negotiating with the battery” to achieve some performance metrics at the expense of others.

JCESR will deliver transformative materials by designing and building them from the bottom up, atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule, where each atom or molecule plays a prescribed role in producing overall materials behavior.
JCESR will deliver transformative materials by designing and building them from the bottom up, atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule, where each atom or molecule plays a prescribed role in producing overall materials behavior.

Research Integration

New to the management structure of JCESR is Research Integration. With the expansion of the fundamental research across a variety of JCESR Thrusts, we have developed this function to assist senior management in the integration of research activities across the entire program. Importantly, these leads will also integrate access and efforts related to user facilities across all 18 partners.

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Liquid Solvation Science

A fundamental understanding of solvation in liquids enables JCESR’s primary objective–building transformative materials from the bottom up. This Thrust will allow us to control the solvation environment of ions and chains of redox active molecules to enable a high voltage window, greater mobility, and diminished side reactions.

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Solid Solvation Science

The framework of this Thrust will rely on crucial input from Liquid Solvation as fundamental understanding of solvation in solids will allow JCESR to build transformative materials from the bottom up. The impact from this Thrust to our overarching vision and mission will allow for the design and synthesis of an electrolyte for any electrical energy storage system, atom-by-atom.

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Flowable Redoxmer Science

JCESR coined the term “redoxmer” for redox active oligomers, dimers, polymers, and colloids, an entirely new and rich class of active battery materials with the potential for smart, responsive behavior. The impact of this research will enable the forecasting of a complete set of electrochemical, stability and transport properties as well as redox-active fluids that degrade when damaged, and automatically regenerate themselves without human intervention.

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Charge Transfer at Dynamic Interfaces

We will understand and control interfacial heterogeneity and its evolution in interphases to guide charge and mass transfer. The impact of our research will enable understanding of the formation and evolution of the electrode/electrolyte interface, including the properties controlling charge and mass transfer and stability, leading to the ability to guide its evolution and function.

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Science of Material Complexity

We will perform research to predict, synthesize, and stabilize material imperfections that enhance battery function, starting with point defects and degree of disorder in cathode materials. This research will have a lasting impact by identifying systems where controlling and implementing complexity can lead to an enhancement of mobility and transport.

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