Science of Material Complexity

Imagine if...
solid state materials could be designed and synthesized over multiple length scales and created with precise control over their various forms of complexity.

Solid electrode and electrolyte materials are critical components of batteries that determine energy density, charge rate, lifetime, safety, and cost. The behavior of solid electrodes and electrolytes is often dictated by the defects in the material, the degree of disorder, and other imperfections–in other words, by the material complexity.

The Science of Material Complexity Thrust considers defects and disorder in materials to be a controllable design parameter like composition, electronic, or magnetic structure. Often defects and disorder determine overall behavior, such as vacancies promoting mobility or charged substitutions controlling conductivity. This Thrust requires advances in computer simulation to model defective crystals and glasses with no long-range order, and in characterization to understand how to control the concentration of defects and degree of disorder. Material Complexity has two focus areas: design of defected and disordered materials to achieve targeted performance outcomes, and guided synthesis to stabilize targeted concentrations of defects and degrees of disorder.

This Thrust requires advances in computer simulation to model defective crystals and glasses with no long-range order, and in characterization to understand how to control the concentration of defects and degree of disorder.

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  • JCESR Spotlight: Bob Jin Kwon, A Postdoc with Passion and Perseverance

    Argonne recognizes Kwon’s contributions to battery science with the Postdoctoral Performance Award. Article authored by: Michael Matz, Argonne Associate Bob Jin Kwon likes a good challenge, particularly when it comes to developing completely new kinds of batteries. “Developing new battery technologies is very challenging,” said … Read More

  • JCESR Spotlight: Lily Robertson Recognized for Her Contributions to Battery Research

    Argonne’s Postdoctoral Performance Award recognizes scientific achievements, leadership, and collaboration. Article authored by: Michael Matz, Argonne Associate Since her early days growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lily Robertson has always wanted to help make the world a better place. “For as … Read More

  • Understanding fluorine-free electrolytes via small-angle X-ray scattering

    We compare the solvation phenomenon of sodium tetraphenylborate (NaBPh4) salt dissolved in organic solvents of propylene carbonate (PC), 1,2-dimethoxyethane (DME), acetonitrile (ACN) and tetrahydrofuran (THF) by SAXS/WAXS measurement and MD simulation. Read More

  • Navigating the Minefield of Battery Literature

    This is an invited perspective aiming to help researchers new to the field of battery research to circumvent certain recurring misconceptions and inaccuracies in the current battery literature. It covers the electrolyte ideality and practical situation in batteries, the difficulty in accurately determining ion transference … Read More

  • Quantifying Lithium Ion Exchange in Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) on Graphite Anode Surfaces

    By using Li isotopic labelling of SEIs and electrolytes followed by time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectroscopy and solid-state NMR analyses, we found that the majority of Li+ “immobilized” in the chemical ingredients were exchanged after 1 SEI formation cycle. Ion exchange by diffusion based on concentration … Read More