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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  • A Message from JCESR Director George Crabtree

    Despite the coronavirus challenges, JCESR continues to push the frontier of energy storage science as we telecommute from home, like much of the nation. We are turning our attention to computation, data analysis and paper writing which continues at a normal or higher pace, enabled … Read More

  • You’re invited: Idaho National Laboratory and JCESR webinar on energy storage (March 18 )

    Electrification is changing the energy landscape of the Mountain West region. While energy storage remains a key enabler to this transformation, infrastructure upgrade and supply chain development will be a key driver for this new economy. Join us on March 18 for a webinar where we’ll … Read More

  • Direct Nano-Synthesis Methods Notably Benefit Mg-Battery Cathode Performance

    A novel Mg cathode material – CuCo2S4 – was identified as a conversion material where direct nano-synthesis was required to provide the best electrochemical performance and deliver 350 mAh·g-1 at 60 °C, a capacity nearly double that of ball-milled material with similar dimensions. Read More

  • Quantifying Capacity Losses due to Solid Electrolyte Interphase Evolution

    We quantified the capacity loss originating in solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) growth during each cycle and extracted the proportionality constant for SEI growth following a parabolic growth law. This continuous SEI growth contributes to the increasing overpotential, leading to capacity fading at a given constant … Read More

  • On Lifetime and Cost of Redox-Active Organics for Aqueous Flow Batteries

    In this viewpoint, we recommend methodology for (1) testing aqueous organic flow batteries to better understand the fade mechanisms and failure modes, and for (2) techno-economic assessment of these batteries that incorporates the costs associated with electrolyte decay and replacement to articulate a feasible design … Read More