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Technology developed by IUPUI professor could redefine size, efficiency of batteries


INDIANAPOLIS — Cell phones could be thinner and electric cars could go farther with technology and materials developed by Jian Xie, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory.

Nature Communications, an open-access journal that publishes high-quality research from all areas of the natural sciences, is publishing Xie’s paper, “Graphene-modified nanostructured vanadium pentoxide hybrids with extraordinary electrochemical performance for Li-ion batteries.”

Xie — a faculty member in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI and a member of the campus’s Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute — and his research team have developed graphene materials and technology that will have a significant impact on electronics and electric vehicles. According to the paper, this technology shows great promise in helping redefine the size and efficiency of a wide array of products, particularly batteries.

These nano-structured materials have applications in energy storage (batteries and super capacitors) and energy conversion (fuel cells), among others. Possible examples include cell phones one-third the thickness of current cell phones and electric vehicles with driving ranges three times farther than current models.

“Technology breakthroughs in today’s world rely on our deep understanding of the fundamentals of materials, particularly on a nano-scale,” Xie said. “This collaborative work is a great example of how we can benefit from understanding the properties and structure of graphenes and metal oxides as well as their fundamental issues — single sheet graphene, electronic/ionic conductivity, structural stability, etc. — in order to solve engineering problems and develop applications. I am thrilled that this new approach will benefit the scientific community.”

Xie’s startup company, CE Helios, will commercialize this advanced technology. His approach will be used to develop next-generation battery technology that will have three times the current battery capacity — from 145 mAh/g of LiFePO4 to 438 mAh/g of V2O5.

“In order to understand the extraordinary performance of the novel materials, the researchers carried out in situ high-energy X-ray diffraction and in operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements at the X-ray Science Division’s beamlines 11-ID-C and 20-BM-B, respectively,” said Advanced Photon Source/Argonne National Laboratory physicist Yang Ren.

“Such a combined application of two powerful and complementary hard X-ray techniques at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source not only elucidated the fundamental knowledge of the underlying mechanism at the atomic and electronic levels but also provided guidelines for future development of this new class of energy materials,” he said.

Papers published by Nature Communications, a journal of the Nature Group, represent important advances of significance to specialists within each field. The journal has an Impact Factor of 10.742, according to the 2013 Journal Citation Reports Science Edition.

About Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

About the Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute at IUPUI: 

The Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute is an interdisciplinary institute supported through the IUPUI Signature Centers Initiative in partnership with the Office of Vice Chancellor for Research, the School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Science and the School of Medicine. Over 30 faculty members from these schools are associated with INDI. These researchers have expertise in a wide range of interdisciplinary fields, including chemistry, physics, biology, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, orthopedics, cellular and integrative physiology, and pathology and laboratory medicine.

 About the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI:

The mission of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI is to be one of the best urban university leaders in the disciplines of engineering and technology recognized locally, nationally and internationally. The school’s goal is to provide students an education that will give them the leverage to be leaders in their communities, industry and society.

 About Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis:

Known as Indiana’s premier urban research and health sciences campus, IUPUI is dedicated to advancing the intellectual growth of the state of Indiana and its residents through research and creative activity, teaching, learning and civic engagement. Nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and other notable publications, IUPUI has more than 30,000 students enrolled in 21 schools, which offer more than 250 degrees. IUPUI awards degrees from both Indiana and Purdue universities.