Dr. Debra Rolison
Naval Research Lab

Architectural Design in 3D Physically Thwarts Dendrite Formation—With Zinc Now Rechargeable, Who Needs Lithium Batteries?

Location: EB1 Room 1011

Friday, November 17th 2017 - 11:00 am

Our team at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory explores rate-critical processes where events per second are required for high performance in such areas as energy storage, energy conversion, (electro)catalysis, and sensing. We then design next-generation systems built around pore–solid nanoarchitectures that seamlessly embody all of the requisite rate functions for high-performance electrochemistry: molecular mass transport, ionic/electronic/thermal conductivity, and electron-transfer kinetics. We have taken the lessons from 20 years of probing the operational and design characteristics of energy-relevant nanoarchitectures to create a safer zinc-based aqueous battery with energy capacity commensurate with still too-catastrophe–prone lithium-ion batteries. The key to realizing rechargeable zinc alkaline batteries lies in controlling the behavior of the zinc anode during cycling. Our team does this with a sponge form-factor, which physically ensures more uniform charge–discharge reactions and thwarts dendrite-formation. With this breakthrough, we can now address the family of zinc-based rechargeable alkaline batteries: nickel–3D zinc, silver–3D zinc, MnO2–3D zinc, and even rechargeable 3D zinc–air.

Bio: Debra Rolison heads the Advanced Electrochemical Materials section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. Her team designs, synthesizes, characterizes, and applies three-dimensionally structured, ultraporous, multifunctional nanoarchitectures for such rate-critical applications as catalysis, energy storage and conversion, and sensors. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University (1975) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1980). Rolison is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science, the Materials Research Society, and the American Chemical Society. Among her major awards, she received the Department of the Navy Dr. Dolores M. Etter Top Scientist & Engineer Team Award (2016), the 2014 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award in Electrochemistry, the 2012 Charles N. Reilley Award of the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry, the 2011 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, and the 2011 Hillebrand Prize of the Chemical Society of Washington. Her editorial advisory board service includes Chemical Reviews, Analytical Chemistry, Langmuir, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Advanced Energy Materials, Nano Letters, the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and Annual Review in Analytical Chemistry. Rolison also writes and lectures widely on issues affecting women (and men!) in science, including proposing Title IX assessments of science and engineering departments. She is the author of over 225 articles and holds 35 patents.

North Carolina State University