Batteries—they’re all around us, from everyday items like cellphones and laptops to life-saving medical devices and environmentally-friendly electric vehicles. So, who are the people behind the batteries that continue to impact and improve our daily lives?
According to Research Interfaces, the following are the 10 lithium-ion battery researchers to watch.
University of California, San Diego, USA
According to Research Interfaces, in order to understand complex phenomena inside electrochemical cells, one must often merge theory with experimental characterization—that’s where Ying Shirley Meng dedicates much of her efforts. Her team at UCSD takes advanced techniques to many front lines, including lithium-metal anodes, solid state electrolytes, and lithium-rich cathodes. Through diverse collaborations, they bridge fundamental science with device development.
Meng is a long-time ECS member, joining the Society in 2007. She went on to become a member of the ECS Battery Division that same year, later joining the ECS Singapore Section in 2017. In 2018, Meng became an ECS Awarded Life Member and ECS Class Fellow.
She is an active member of ECS, calling the Society her professional home. She’s shared her technical expertise and judgment as a 2019 ECS journal peer-reviewer and has published work in the ECS Digital Library, including her collaboration with Chunsheng Wang, a top 10 battery researcher on the list, on the paper, “Perspective—Fluorinating Interphases.”
Hear Meng share her thoughts on sustainable power on the ECS podcast.
University of Maryland, USA
According to Research Interfaces, Wang is one of the most creative scientists out there. Pick any important area of battery research and his team will have contributed to it. They challenge the limits of battery operation via, for example, extreme temperatures or mechanical deformation. Whatever the topic, whatever the collaboration, they get interesting results.
Wang is a long-time ECS member, joining the Society in 1997 and the ECS Battery Division in 2012.
He passes his knowledge on to students in the battery field, as a supervisor of the 2018 Battery Division Student Research Award Winner Fudong Han.
He’s also worked with highly regarded researcher Shirley Meng, also top 10 battery researcher on the list, on the paper “Perspective—Fluorinating Interphases.”
Dalhousie University, Canada
According to Research Interfaces, if you’re a car enthusiast or a fan of Elon Musk, you’ll probably like Jeff Dahn too. Dahn and his lab are some of the researchers behind Tesla batteries, producing down-to-earth practical research that is extremely valuable to both academia and industry, tackling difficult questions, and educating others by frequently publishing open access material.
Among paper’s Dahn has made free and available to the public, is his paper, “A Wide Range of Testing Results on an Excellent Lithium-Ion Cell Chemistry to be used as Benchmarks for New Battery Technologies,” published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES), where he describes his work on the famous “million mile” Telsa battery.
He shares his expertise with students like Deijun Xiong, recipient of the Energy Technology Division Graduate Student Award, who he supervised in 2018, and Leah Ellis, recipient of the 2017 Canada Section Award, who he supervised in 2017.
Dahn is a long-time member of ECS, joining the Society in 1991, as well as the ECS Battery Division and ECS Canada Section in 2012.
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA
According to Research Interfaces, Gerbrand Ceder and his group bring computational materials science to the forefront, whether it’s for understanding the structure-property relationships in solid state electrolytes or designing novel cathode materials.
Ceder is a long-time member of ECS, joining the Society in 1997 as an ECS Battery Division and New England Section member, and later becoming an ECS Life Member in 2018.
He shares his expertise with students like Haegyeom Kim, a Colin Garfield Fink Summer Fellowship recipient and postdoctoral fellow from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who he supervised in 2018.
University of Giessen, Germany
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
According to Research Interfaces, most believe the future of batteries is solid. However, such a paradigm shift might feel like going back to square one. Fortunately, there are labs that have already racked up more than a decade of intense research in solid state ionics, so the scientific community now has much to build on. Jürgen Janek was one of those ahead of the curve. He is the authority in solid state batteries, and his team’s work is deservedly gaining solid traction.
Janek is a long-time member of ECS, joining the Society as an ECS member in 1997. Janek went on to become an ECS Europe Section and ECS H-Temp Division member in 2016.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA
University of Washington, USA
According to Research Interfaces, PNNL is a hub of amazing battery research, connected in every direction with distinguished laboratories in the US and around the world. Its $50 million Battery500 consortium aims to develop batteries that are better, cheaper, and safer—and lithium-metal anode and Jun Liu are at the center of it all. Fundamental and practical thinking has led to engineered cells with record-breaking performance (specific energy >300 Wh/kg for pouch cell format).
Liu joined the ECS Battery Division in 2018 and has published several papers in the ECS Digital Library.
Tsinghua University, China
Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
According to Research Interfaces, Minggao Ouyang is the foremost expert on battery degradation and failure. His research covers everything from battery management and fault diagnosis to thermal runaways and their propagation.
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
According to Research Interfaces, there is a whole cohort of prominent German academics who link battery chemistry with device physics; work with large cell formats and test them under realistic conditions; and get into serious engineering to develop concrete technologies for electric vehicles or energy storage systems. Their labs are nested in an effective network of world-class universities, national research centers, and the automotive and electronics industries. One example is Dirk Uwe Sauer and his team. The work you’ll find in their portfolio is as multifaceted as a journey from lab to market.
Hanyang University, South Korea
According to Research Interfaces, cathode research has always enjoyed a lot of attention, so it’s a difficult place to stand out. But in the design and synthesis of advanced cathode materials, Yang-Kook Sun is in a league of his own. Even after years in the spotlight, his nickel-rich NMC and NCA chemistries are pushing today what seemed like a limit only yesterday. His lab has managed walking a fine line between academic curiosity and industrial applicability.
Sun has a long history of involvement with ECS, joining the ECS Battery Division and Korea Section in 1998.
Beijing Institute of Technology, China
According to Research Interfaces, a battery management system is the electronic brain that operates each cell and battery pack. It balances performance, reliability, and safety. And as battery applications grow in number, so does the research into battery models and state estimation. Rui Xiong comes from the younger generation of BMS researchers, but having learned from the best, he is already establishing a stellar reputation in the field. Every battery engineer and developer should have him bookmarked.