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Hall's research to support safer, more efficient lithium batteries wins DOE funding

Jon Brown and Lisa HallJon Brown, a research scientist in Lisa Hall's group, and H.C. Slider Professorship holder Lisa M. HallA three-year Department of Energy award will support Lisa Hall’s polymer research, which could ultimately be used in the production of safer, lighter-weight lithium batteries with improved conductivity.

The project, entitled "Designing Efficient Nanostructured Polymer Electrolytes Using Tapered Block Polymers - Joint Experiment and Theory Effort in Controlled Interface Design," is a collaborative award with the Thomas Epps, III Group from the University of Delaware performing the experimental effort.

Specifically, Hall and her group will study the effect of polymer sequence on salt-doped block copolymers. In these materials with potential application as electrolytes in safer, lighter weight batteries, two types of polymers are connected together in the same chain, and the system forms microscopic regions of each type of polymer; one polymer is mechanically robust while the other conducts ions.

The Hall group will perform simulations to help understand how changing the polymer sequence (making a smoother transition in composition along the chain) can change the interface between the two polymer microphases, leading to changes in mechanical strength and ion conduction (electrolyte performance). Jon Brown, a member of Hall’s research team, will also work on this project as a research scientist. The knowledge gained from the research project will be transferable to other conducting polymer systems, as well as other interfacially-active soft materials.

The simulations will be validated by close comparison with experimental data from the Epps group, and further simulations of yet-to-be synthesized polymer sequences will predict how to develop new electrolytes for improved future batteries.

Hall’s portion of the award is $343,000. With this award, Hall, who recently won the sought-after National Science Foundation CAREER Award, has secured nearly $1M in external research funding since joining Ohio State in 2012.

The public abstract for this award is available at http://go.osu.edu/HallDOE

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