Hybrid materials for energy storage

To tackle climate change, we need cleaner, more efficient ways to store and use energy. Many of the proposed “next generation” energy devices (things like fuel cells or advanced battery technologies) require conductive solid components known as Solid State Electrolytes or SSEs. 

Unfortunately, all the current options for SSE materials have drawbacks. Inorganic materials tend to be highly conductive, but difficult to work with. Organic materials (usually polymers) tend to be easy to process, but are relatively poor conductors.

In this project, we will make “hybrid” materials (i.e. metal-organic frameworks and other materials with both organic and inorganic components) with the intent to combine the best of organic and inorganic materials. We will also combine these materials with known redox-active compounds to influence the electronic properties of our materials. We will also look at phase changes between crystalline, liquid and amorphous states of our materials.

What will you do? You’ll make and characterise some new materials. This will involve a bit of organic synthesis, lots of inorganic synthesis, and as many solid-state characterisation techniques as possible. You’ll also investigate the transition between different phases of your materials using techniques like Dynamic Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). If things look promising, there would be a chance to collaborate with international colleagues for some additional characterisation on your materials.

If you’re interested in the project, feel free to come and talk to me about it (Jacobs 1211).

Name of research group, project, or lab
Hybrid Material's Lab
Why join this research group or lab?

This is a brand new research group, and it will be a dynamic and engaging environment. My biggest priority is that you'll learn new skills and grow your abilities as a scientist. Depending on how the project goes, you'll get to work with collaborators in Ireland, the UK, Germany, New Zealand and Japan.

Logistics Information:
Project categories
Materials Science
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

No special skills required - willingness to learn and an interest in the subject is all that matters. We'll teach you everything else.

Time commitment
Fall - Part Time
Spring - Part Time
Academic Credit
Number of openings
Techniques learned

Organic and inorganic synthesis, X-ray diffraction (single-crystal and powder), infrared spectroscopy, dynamic scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis.

Contact Information:
Colm Healy
Visiting Assistant Prof.
Name of project director or principal investigator
Colm Healy
Email address of project director or principal investigator
3 sp. | 13 appl.
Hours per week
Fall - Part Time (+1)
Fall - Part TimeSpring - Part Time
Project categories
Materials Science (+1)
ChemistryMaterials Science