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Nanostructured bismuth vanadate on silicon nanorods for photoelectrochemistry devices.

AFM image showing SrTiO3 terraces for precise surface characterization.

In-situ x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy of fuel cell reactions.

The Chueh group in lab, August 2015.

X-ray absorption spectromicroscopy showing heterogeneous lithiation in battery particles.

Custom chamber for in-situ surface x-ray diffraction.

Tahoe retreat, January 2015.

Thin film cells and testing chamber for photoelectrochemistry devices.

Bridging Fundamentals and Technology

Electrochemically-active materials are at the heart of carbon-neutral energy cycles, as they enable the efficient transformation of electrical energy to and from chemical energy. Understanding design rules that govern material composition, microstructure, and architecture unlocks the rational optimization of technologies such as batteries and fuel cells. Pure electron transfer has been well-studied, but electrochemical reactions in many of these devices involve the simultaneous transfer of electrons as well as ions into the electrodes. The central question unifying the group's research is: “can we understand and engineer ion-insertion reactions at the levels of electrons, ions, molecules, and particles?”

Presently a team of 15+ graduate students and 5+ postdoctoral scholars, the Chueh group aims to establish new design rules to enhance electrochemical functionalities of ion-insertion solids by controlling interfacial electronic structure, crystallography, and defect chemistry. Our bottom-up approach employs novel fabrication and characterization to understand molecular pathways and interfacial structure. We then bridge these fundamentals to electrochemical technologies through rational engineering.

Highlights - see all

Confounding assumptions in Li-ion battery design

Unraveling rate-limiting steps for water splitting

Imaging of batteries reveals only small fraction is active