Student: Jacob Wheaton, graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State University
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Steve W. Martin
My research focuses on the synthesis and development of glassy solid-state electrolytes for use in solid-state lithium-ion batteries. I am working to develop novel glass compositions that exhibit high ionic conductivities, excellent electrochemical stability, and easy low-temperature processing. These novel compositions are being made in large-scale batches to generate a rectangular preform, which I then reheat and pull into a thin film less than 100 microns in thickness, through the glass redraw process. Concurrently, I am working to develop a composite cathode, utilizing sulfur, glassy solid-state electrolytes, and conductive carbon to generate a highly energy dense sulfur cathode to be paired with a lithium metal anode for superior volumetric and gravimetric energy density compared to current lithium-ion batteries utilizing intercalation cathodes. I hope to generate several successful full-cell all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries utilizing my composite sulfur cathode, a drawn thin film glassy solid-state electrolyte, and a lithium metal anode. This project relates to the NASA mission for the Space Technology Directorate through the need for highly energy dense, long-lasting batteries for use in nearly all space missions.