November 21, 2023

MSE Seminar Series: Defect-Informed Design and Discovery of Solid-State Ionics for Energy Applications

Nicola Perry, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2:00pm - 3:00pm


Nicola Perry, Associate Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Point defect-mediated properties in ionic solids – chemical expansivity, catalytic activity, and ionic conductivity – govern performance of electrochemical energy devices. This talk will describe both focused studies on model compositions and high-throughput screening approaches to identify design principles and materials that can extend the lifetime or efficiency of electrolyzers, fuel cells, and all-solid-state batteries. I will present examples where each property can be tailored widely by uncovering the relationship between the host crystal chemistry and the point defect kinetics. First, we have developed near-zero-chemical-strain electrodes and membranes for enhanced durability, by adjusting the metal-oxygen bond angles and charge distribution, in perovskite oxides that breathe. Second, we have boosted the surface oxygen exchange kinetics of fuel/electrolysis cell electrodes by orders of magnitude through an in-situ crystallization route that produces a beneficial defect chemistry for charge transfer and an atypical surface chemistry. Third, for Li-ion batteries, we have developed a defect-focused descriptor filter to identify air-stable superionic solid electrolytes with intrinsic Li sublattice disorder and compatibility with high/low voltage electrodes. I will touch on a wide range of custom-built in-house and synchrotron-based in-situ experimental methods that enable the work, including new opportunities afforded by combining low-temperature combinatorial pulsed laser deposition with spatially resolved optical analysis of defect kinetics.


Nicola H. Perry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC and an Affiliate of the Illinois Materials Research Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University (NU) in 2009 and conducted postdoctoral research at NU, MIT, and Kyushu University. From 2014-2017 she served as a World Premier Initiative Assistant Professor in the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research at Kyushu University and as a Research Affiliate at MIT. Her research focuses on tailoring and understanding point defect-mediated properties in electro-chemo-mechanically active oxides and halides across a range of temperature, gas atmosphere, illumination, and electric field conditions relevant to energy storage and conversion. Her research awards include a CAREER Award (NSF), Early Career Award (DOE), KAKENHI Awards (JSPS), Award for Encouragement of Research (IUMRS), J. Bruce Wagner, Jr. Award (ECS), Edward C. Henry Award (ACerS), Richard M. Fulrath Award (ACerS), and Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (UIUC).