Special Seminar: Seeing “Nano” in Motion: In Situ Experiment for Energy Storage Materials and Beyond

Akihiro Kushima, Research Scientist, Dept of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 4:00–5:00pm

Spanos Auditorium, Cummings Hall


"Seeing is believing." In situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) enables us to "see" dynamic processes of atomic scale phenomena in real time. For example, it is now possible to observe the change in the atomic structure of the Li‐ion battery electrode materials during the charge/discharge cycles. A single nanowire battery was created inside TEM in the experiment, and the change in the morphology was recorded as the nanowire reacted with Li-ions. Various materials were tested and their response to the Li insertion was compared. The observation provides rich information of the reaction mechanism and possible solutions to improve the device performance. Li‐ion battery is already a widely commercialized energy storage technology, but nano‐engineered electrodes are demonstrated to further improve the function such as, capacity, cycle-lifetime, and rate performance. In such nano‐structured electrodes, insights obtained from in situ TEM experiments can be directly linked to their performance and contribute to developing novel electrode materials. Nanotechnology is an inextricable part of our modern everyday life, and nano-­characterization techniques such as in situ TEM are powerful tools to understand the materials at atomic scales and contribute to advancement of the technology. Atoms are small, but observing, understanding, and utilizing their behavior may lead to technological breakthroughs making huge impacts on our society.

About the Speaker

Dr. Akihiro Kushima is a Research Scientist in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research interest is to understand the fundamental materials properties through combination of in situ electron microscopy and atomistic simulations with particular emphasis on energy storage materials. Dr. Kushima completed his Ph.D. and undergraduate studies in the Department of Engineering Physics and Mechanics at Kyoto University, Japan in 2007. Prior to his current position, he conducted postdoctoral studies at MIT (2007–2010) and University of Pennsylvania (2010–2012). He started his research career as a theorist in the field of computational materials science specialized in ab initio quantum mechanics simulations. During his appointment at University of Pennsylvania, he studied in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) technique to understand the atomic scale reaction mechanism of Li-­ion battery electrode materials under the battery operation. His research areas include Li-­ion/air battery, nano‐materials, solid‐liquid interfacial reaction, and developing in situ TEM techniques.

For more information, contact Haley Tucker at haley.tucker@dartmouth.edu.