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Devon Mortensen

Graduate Student, Physics

Lab-based X-ray Emission Spectroscopy Studies of Electrical Energy Storage Materials: Building Bridges between PHYS and MSE Groups

While rechargeable batteries are a ubiquitous part of our society (cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.), there are still a number of fundamental gaps in our understanding of their operation at the atomic level. If we hope to bring battery technology up to the level required for large-scale renewable energy and electric vehicle implementation, these gaps must be closed. My research focuses on x-ray spectroscopy, which is an essential tool in measuring the electronic structure of working batteries and battery materials. Unfortunately, the ability to perform these measurements has historically been hampered by the needed use of limited-access, world-class facilities. To this end, we are constructing a smaller-scale instrument to be owned and operated by the CEI. Having this instrument on campus will allow for unprecedented access to x-ray spectroscopic techniques, thus greatly speeding the development of next-generation battery materials. A first-generation version of this spectrometer has already been installed and is producing useful, high-quality data.