Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Hugel Science Center 100
Kendra Letchworth-Weaver (Argonne National Lab)

Please join the Physics Department for a colloquium by Kendra Ltchworth-Weaver, Argonne National Lab, on "The Physics of Solid/Liquid Interfaces in Renewable Energy Technologies"  There will be tea at 4:10 in the lobby of the Hugel Science Center, followed by the talk at 4:30.


Hydrogen fuel generated from sunlight and water has the potential to power future transportation without harmful carbon emissions. Longer lasting, higher capacity batteries would enable grid-scale storage of solar and wind generated energy. The cost and performance of these clean energy technologies are influenced by fundamental physical processes which occur at solid/liquid interfaces. Joint Density-Functional Theory (JDFT) allows accurate and computationally efficient modeling of the quantum-mechanical properties of a solid surface and the collective statistical-mechanical properties of the surrounding liquid environment.  We use a combination of JDFT and experimental X-ray measurements to demonstrate that the surface structure of a SrTiO3 photocatalyst changes when it is placed into liquid and used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas, making the catalyst more effective. We finish by exploring fundamental processes in Li-ion batteries, showing how the composition of the organic interphase layer between a metal oxide cathode and a liquid electrolyte impacts battery lifetime and charging rate.

Sponsored by: 
Physics Department

Contact information

David Nice