Special Seminar: Tackling the Problems of Lithium-Sulfur Battery—from Molecular Understanding to Nanomaterials Design

Weiyang Fiona Li, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University

Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 4:00–5:00pm

Room 200, Cummings Hall


The emerging applications of electric vehicles (EV) and grid scale energy storage are pushing the limit of current energy storage technologies. To meet the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s targets for EV batteries and grid storage, battery chemistries beyond the lithium-ion systems are required. Among the many new chemistries studied, lithium-sulfur battery is extremely attractive and promising because of its high theoretical specific energy of ~2600 Wh/kg, six times higher than that of the current lithium-ion battery technology. However, successful practical applications of lithium-sulfur batteries have been impeded by challenges associated with both sulfur cathode and lithium metal anode. Here I will present my research on tackling the problems of lithium-sulfur batteries through multifaceted approaches at different length-scales, allowing unprecedented control over the electrode architecture from the nanoscale to macroscale. For the cathode side, I will present my work on fundamental understanding of the lithium-sulfur reaction and rational design and synthesis of unique sulfur nanostructures with multifunctional coatings to overcome the issues of sulfur cathode. For the anode side, I will present that the growth of lithium dendrites, which is the cause for battery internal short-circuit, can be effectively suppressed by chemical modification of lithium metal anodes. These research findings provide new insights and open up exciting opportunities for the next generation of cost-effective and high-energy batteries.

About the Speaker

Dr. Weiyang (Fiona) Li graduated with BS (2004) and MS (2007) degrees in chemistry from Nankai University, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis (2011, with Prof. Younan Xia). She is now working with Prof. Yi Cui as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the design and synthesis of novel nanostructured materials with controlled compositions, sizes, and shapes to address critical problems related to energy storage devices. She has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature Communications, Proceedings of National Academy of Science, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Accounts of Chemical Research, and Nano Letters, which have received over 4000 citations.

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