2019 Graduate Fellows

Jiaxu Qin

Lithium–sulfur (Li-S) batteries promise to improve the lifetime and cost of electric vehicles due to their high capacity (10x Li-ion theoretical) and earth-abundant materials. However, sulfur undergoes up to 80% volume expansion during discharge, causing cracks in the cathode that leads to capacity fade. To address this stability problem, I will develop elastic, self-healing polymer binders for sulfur cathodes based on tunable and reversibleinteractions between fused aromatic diimides. The elasticity of these side-chain-substituted binders will dissipate expansion stress and resist crack formation, while any formed cracks will be repaired, even at room temperature, due to the binder’s self-healing capability. This will enable energy-dense, low-cost Li-S batteries with much longer cycle life. I will collaborate with Prof. Jihui Yang’s group (UW-MSE) and Dr. Jun Liu’s group (PNNL) to characterize the self-healing efficiency of binders and the performance of batteries with my materials.

Advisor Alex Jen – Material Science & Engineering

“Providing clean energy to the inhabitants of our planet is a major challenge to future generations. The University of Washington is to be congratulated for establishing an Institute where faculty and students can work together to tackle the difficult global challenge of energy sustainability.”
– Mildred Dresselhaus, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Emerita and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Energy competition is opening up in a variety of ways, the push for carbon control will continue, and the rate of technology advancement is exponential. All the things I’ve seen at the CEI are just perfect for the way we see things going in energy. You guys are at the cutting edge. We’re counting on you.”
– Ronald Litzinger, President, Edison Energy