ChBE Seminar Series: Debra R. Rolison

Friday, October 21, 2016
11:00 a.m.
Room 2110, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Dongxia Liu

Debra R. Rolison
ACS Fellow
US Naval Research Laboratory

Enhancing electrochemical energy storage on the macroscale via architectural design on the nanoscale


A marked improvement in energy storage in batteries and electrochemical capacitors is critical for a sustainable energy future, yet both devices are mature technologies that have always disregarded Moore’s Law [1]. We have worked to rewire the multifunction energy storage requires―mass and charge transport, electronic and ionic conductivity, and electron-transfer kinetics―in light of nanoscience, the importance of nothing, and architectural design in three dimensions (3D) [2–5]. Our team creates advanced architectures in which the pore and solid structural components are co-continuous and controlled on the nanoscale and microscale by the use of sol–gel syntheses, controlled removal of pore fluid, and non–line-of-sight modification of internal surfaces with moieties that introduce new functionality. We currently build energy-storage devices using carbon aerogel-like nanofoam papers [6] that can provide electrocatalysis, pulse power, and energy storage by conformally depositing nanoscale coatings and performing in-situ crystal engineering. For Zn-based batteries, we addressed the Zn “dendrite problem,” which limits battery cycle life, using a radically redesigned 3D Zn sponge architecture [7]. The interconnected Zn sponge retains an inner core of conductive metal throughout cycling that facilitates long-range electronic conductivity and provides more uniform current distribution—two properties needed for high depth-of-discharge (specific energy) and long-term, dendrite-free cycling (battery function). Our efforts to develop these electrode architectures and to bring them together to develop a next-generation of energy-dense and safer batteries will be described.

More About the Speaker:

Debra Rolison heads the Advanced Electrochemical Materials section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. Her team designs, synthesizes, characterizes, and applies three-dimensionally structured, ultraporous, multifunctional nanoarchitectures for such rate-critical applications as catalysis, energy storage and conversion, and sensors. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University (1975) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1980). Rolison is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science, the Materials Research Society, and the American Chemical Society. Among her major awards, she received the Department of the Navy Dr. Dolores M. Etter Top Scientist & Engineer Team Award (2016), the 2014 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award in Electrochemistry, the 2012 Charles N. Reilley Award of the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry, the 2011 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, and the 2011 Hillebrand Prize of the Chemical Society of Washington. Her editorial advisory board service includes Chemical Reviews, Analytical Chemistry, Langmuir, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Advanced Energy Materials, Nano Letters, the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and Annual Review in Analytical Chemistry. Rolison also writes and lectures widely on issues affecting women (and men!) in science, including proposing Title IX assessments of science and engineering departments. She is the author of over 225 articles and holds 35 patents.

[1]  D.R. Rolison, L.F. Nazar, MRS Bull. 2011, 36(7), 486–493.
[2]  J.W. Long, B. Dunn, D.R. Rolison, H.S. White, Chem. Rev. 2004, 104, 4463.
[3]  D.R. Rolison, J.W. Long, Acc. Chem. Res. 2007, 40, 854.
[4]  D.R. Rolison, J.W. Long, J.C. Lytle, A.E. Fischer, C.P. Rhodes, T.M. McEvoy, M.E. Bourg, A.M. Lubers, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2009, 38, 226.
[5]  D.R. Rolison, Science 2003, 299, 1698.
[6]  J.C. Lytle, J.M. Wallace, M.B. Sassin, A.J. Barrow, J.W. Long, J.L. Dysart, C.H. Renninger, M.P. Saunders, N.L. Brandell, and D.R. Rolison, Energy Environ. Sci. 2011, 4, 1913–1925.
[7]  J.F. Parker, C.N. Chervin, E.S. Nelson, J.W. Long, D.R. Rolison, Energy Environ. Sci. 7 (2014) 1117–1124.

Audience: Public 

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