Fisher Attends Ionic Liquids ConferenceDepartment of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering graduate student and John and Maureen Hendricks Energy Research Fellow Aaron Fisher, advised by Fischell Department of Bioengineering professor Peter Kofinas, recently returned from the 3rd Congress on Ionic Liquids (COIL-3), held from May 31 to June 4, 2009 in Cairns, Australia. The trip was funded by his fellowship, which provides academic and travel support for students engaged in energy research in collaboration with the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC).
Fisher's research focuses on how room-temperature ionic liquids can be used in polymer matrices to create a solid, flexible polymer electrolyte for use in batteries. The successful creation of a product of this kind could allow device designers the ability to customize the thickness and shape of the battery they need, freeing them from constraining a device's design to fit a particular existing battery. The new solid polymer electrolyte would also be safer for people and the environment, because unlike electrolytes found in batteries we currently use, it would not contain corrosive liquids and gels.
Fisher chose to attend COIL-3 to learn from some of the leaders in the field of ionic liquids, many of whom are not based in the U.S. "I got the chance to meet and speak to professors and students from all over the world," he says of the experience. "There were particularly large contingents from Japan, Germany and Ireland. I made lots of contacts and even got an offer to work in a particularly good lab in Australia. There were a slew of great talks, including ones by [ionic liquid experts] Hiroyuki Ohno, Masayoshi Watanabe and Gordon Wallace. I definitely learned a lot about how people are looking at ionic liquids and where they see ionic liquids going in the near future." In addition to the lineup of research leaders, international commercial suppliers and industrial users of ionic liquids were also in attendance.
Published June 17, 2009