The Battery Analytical Investigation (BAI) Research Group, led by Dr. Bai (CV), is part of the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering (EECE), in the McKelvey School of Engineering, at Washington University in St. Louis.

We aim to obtain precision understandings of the performance-limiting mechanisms in current and emerging batteries, by combining high-throughput operando electroanalytical methods, physics-based mathematical modeling, atomistic and molecular dynamics simulations, and data-driven diagnosis.

Research Highlights

  • Tunable hierarchical structures enable the superior performance from insulating polyanion intercalation cathodes: 93.8% capacity retention after 5,000 deep cycles at 10 C-rate. Carbon content in particles is merely < 3%.
  • Ideally stable Na metal anode in the correct electrolyte
The actual plating process was paused twice, one for 8 hours and the other for 16 hours, which, however, did not affect the ideal smoothness.
  • Spiky Na growths (not dendrite) in the “wrong” electrolyte
The “wrong” electrolyte caused bad SEI that undermined the current distribution at the electrode surface. The spiky structures must not be called dendrites, as they were not induced by transport limitation.

More details can be found in our 2021 open-access paper.