ChE Seminar – “Elucidating Electrochemical Energy Materials through Versatile Electrochemistry” by Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Host: Dr. Delia Milliron
My group creates electroanalytical techniques and strategies to control materials and interfacial reactivity for applications in energy storage and conversion. In this seminar, I will discuss how new polymeric and low-dimensional materials, as well as an expanded electroanalytical toolbox for understanding interfaces and nanomaterials, are allowing us to discover new synergies at the nano- and mesoscale for emerging battery technologies. I will describe one system where nano-scale heterogeneity has an impact on macro-scale performance: novel redox active polymers (RAPs) for size-selective flow batteries. Our highly collaborative work in this field takes place within the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, and is aimed at discovering new chemistries for energy storage beyond lithium-ion. Our investigations on RAPs span across several areas of knowledge, from the interrogation of individual polymer particles, to the elucidation of new redox polyelectrolyte dynamics, and to the evaluation of flow battery performance. To better understand these new nanomaterials and their complex behavior within the flow battery, my group has introduced scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) methods that uniquely probe electronic and ionic processes within these materials. Using these and other tools, we are starting to understand fundamental balances between electrons and ions that we hope will have an impact on diverse energy conversion and storage technologies.
Joaquín Rodríguez-López is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He performed undergraduate studies with Prof. Marcelo Videa at Tecnológico de Monterrey, obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin with Allen J. Bard and did a post-doc with Héctor D. Abruña in Cornell University. Joaquin’s group combines interests in electroanalytical chemistry and energy materials by developing chemically-sensitive methods for studying ionic and electronic reactivity in nano-structures, highly-localized surface features, and ultra-thin electrodes. As an active collaborator in the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), Joaquin contributes to realizing the development of efficient energy storage in electrical grids through the discovery of novel concepts for non-aqueous redox flow batteries. Recognition to Joaquin’s work has come through awards such as Science News 10 Scientists to Watch, the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry Royce W. Murray Young Investigator Award (2017), a Toyota-Electrochemical Society Young Investigator Fellowship (2017), the Sloan Research Fellowship (2016), the East Central Illinois ACS Chapter Distinguished Service Award (2016), the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Starter Grant (2015), and the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry graduate fellowship award (2010), amongst other awards including various travel grants to attend conferences on electrochemistry and analytical chemistry.