Materials Science and Engineering Colloquium – 76208

Materials Science and Engineering Colloquium

Yuan Yang, MIT – “Electrochemical Materials and Devices
for Energy Storage and Conversion”

 Electrochemical Materials and Devices
for Energy Storage and Conversion

Dr. Yuan Yang

Department of
Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



A sustainable future
demands advanced materials for energy storage and conversion. The ability to understand, design and
characterize materials affords great opportunities for controlling underlying
physical and chemical processes, which can ultimately lead to high performance energy

This talk will cover several examples on designing electrochemical materials and devices for
both energy storage and conversion. The first example is designing
high-performance sulfur electrode for energy storage. Two approaches have been
demonstrated: In one approach, closed nanostructures efficiently trap soluble
polysulfides and minimize electrode pulverization, leading to both long cycle
life and high capacity.  In the other
approach, solubility of lithium polysulfides inspires us to develop a new type of
hybrid flow battery for grid-level energy storage. The second example is
designing transparent batteries for transparent electronics.
Crossbar-structured electrodes with microscale features are realized by
microfabrication to render the device transparent.

In another direction, although
batteries are known for electricity storage, we demonstrate that by cycling a battery
between low and high temperatures, thermal energy can be converted into
electricity.  Prussian blue analogs are identified as
potential materials as their small overpotential results in a high efficiency
in heat harvesting. A charging-free, purely heat-powered battery is also demonstrated

One of key steps in designing
electrochemical materials is to control ions. The directions of future research
are to understand and manipulate ions and their interaction with other
particles to create novel materials and devices, such as advanced batteries and
exotic thermal materials. Interface of ionic control and data science will be
explored too.


Dr. Yuan Yang received
his B.S. in physics at Peking University in 2007 and Ph.D. in materials science
and engineering at Stanford University in 2012. At Stanford he worked under
supervision of Prof. Yi Cui. Dr. Yang is currently a postdoctoral researcher in
Prof. Gang Chen’s group in the department of mechanical engineering at MIT. His
research interests include electrochemical materials and devices, thermal
energy harvesting and thermal management. He received Chinese Government Award
for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad (2012), Cubicciotti Award with
honor mention of the Electrochemical Society (2010), O. Cutler Shepard Award of
Stanford University (2010). His publication record can be found online at

Host: Irving Herman

For further information regarding this event, please contact APAM Department by sending email to or by calling 212-854-4457.

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