Bizuwork Melesse, 2016, Chemistry

My summer internship in Professor Craig Arnold’s lab consisted of working with beyond-lithium battery solutions, specifically, magnesium ion batteries. A promising alternative to lithium ion batteries, magnesium ion batteries provide a safer yet cost-effective means of energy storage. However, the full potential of such battery systems is yet to be realized because of the lack of a combination of robust electrolyte and cathode materials. To that end, my main goal this summer was to design, synthesize, and characterize metal oxide-based cathode materials. In the process of designing the cathode materials, I learned the relative importance of particle size and crystallinity (or the lack thereof) for cathode materials. My lessons were further reinforced through the synthesis and characterization processes. Overall, my research revealed both the significance of energy storage materials today and the challenges of coming up with a practical solution. As a result, I am encouraged to pursue this research further through my senior thesis and hopefully through work in future graduate studies.