Ivan Racheff Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Director of the Materials Research Laboratory
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Battery Electrodes to the World’s Smallest Luneberg Lens: Using Materials Chemistry to Create High Performance Nanostructured Devices
Abstract: Exquisitely nanostructured materials have been considered for many applications, including energy storage and photonics. However, it remains an open challenge how to form high performance nanostructured materials, in the volumes and form factors required to make transformative impacts. We suggest by coupling advanced new concepts in materials chemistry, with appropriately nanostructured hosts or templates, that materials with such impacts can be realized. As one example, I will present our work on electrodeposited electrode materials with unprecedented energy and power densities for both Li-ion and Na-ion batteries, including systems based on silicon, tin, LiCoO2, NaCoO2, LiMn2O4, and Al-doped LiCoO2. The capacities of these materials are near-theoretical, and in the case of the electroplated oxides, the crystallinities and electrochemical capacities and rate performance are comparable or even better than powders synthesized at much higher temperatures. As another example, using a combination of porous silicon and porous silica, and concepts adapted from additive manufacturing, I will show how nanophotonic elements, including flat lenses, waveguides, photonic nanojet generators, Bragg mirrors, polarization sensitive optical splitters, and the world’s smallest Luneberg Lens was formed.
Prof. Paul V. Braun is the Director of the Materials Research Laboratory and the Ivan Racheff Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He also has a co-appointment in Chemistry and is affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. The Braun Group focuses on the synthesis of materials with carefully crafted 3D nano- and mesoscale architectures which lead to emergence of new optical, electrochemical, and thermal functionalities. Recent priority research areas include materials for energy storage, advanced optics, chemical sensing, and the control of heat. Prof. Braun received his BS with distinction from Cornell University and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois. Following a postdoctoral appointment at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1999. Prof. Braun has co-authored a book and ~250 peer-reviewed publications, been awarded multiple patents, and co-founded three companies. He is the recipient of the Illinois MatSE Young Alumnus Award (2011), Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2010), Stanley H. Pierce Faculty Award (2010), 2002 Robert Lansing Hardy Award from TMS, Beckman Young Investigator Award (2001), 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2001), Xerox Award for Faculty Research (2004, 2009), and multiple teaching awards. In 2006, he was named a University Scholar by the University of Illinois, and in 2011 was named the Ivan Racheff Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Prof. Braun has served on the editorial advisory boards of multiple journals, and in 2018, he was elected a Fellow of the Materials Research Society.