Dr. Feng Lin
Assistant Professor, Deaprtment of Chemistry, Virginia Tech
Investigating Solid−Liquid Interfaces and Defect Chemistry in Electrochemical Energy Materials
Our research focuses on understanding how electrochemical interfaces and defect chemistry govern the nucleation and propagation of redox reactions in solids, with a strong focus on tackling fundamental materials chemistry challenges using advanced synchrotron X-ray analytical techniques. We aim to advance fundamental insights that can broadly and positively impact the development of materials electrochemistry for next-generation energy solutions including batteries, renewable fuels, and smart windows. To date, we have made progress in probing how local chemical and structural heterogeneities, such as grain boundaries, dislocations, point defects, and electrochemical interfaces, govern the redox reactions in redox-active solids. Such progress has allowed us to design and synthesize a vast array of new energy materials for low-cost, sustainable, high-performance electrochemical energy systems. We will start the presentation by providing an overview of our research program. Then we will highlight two coherent topics. First, we will present our study on determining the atomic and molecular origins of surface-mediated electrochemical processes through probing the metal ion speciation and interfacial structural transformations under electrochemical operating conditions. Second, we will report our study on controlling the charge nucleation and propagation in solids by engineering nanoscale defect chemistry. We will show that a precise control of crystallographic defects and their distribution can potentially promote and homogenize redox reactions in battery materials, creating a new path towards developing fast charging batteries. Finally, we will demonstrate how these studies create a platform for tackling frontier materials chemistry challenges in our next chapter of research.
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