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Stabilizing gassy electrolytes could make ultra-low temperature batteries safer

Stabilizing gassy electrolytes could make ultra-low temperature batteries safer

June 7, 2021

A new technology could dramatically improve the safety and performance of lithium-ion batteries that operate with gas electrolytes at ultra-low temperatures. By keeping electrolytes from vaporizing, the technology can prevent pressure buildup inside the battery that leads to swelling and explosions. Full Story


Weakness is strength for this low-temperature battery

Weakness is strength for this low-temperature battery

February 25, 2021

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have discovered new fundamental insights for developing lithium metal batteries that perform well at ultra-low temperatures; mainly, that the weaker the electrolyte holds on to lithium ions, the better. By using such a weakly binding electrolyte, the researchers developed a lithium metal battery that can be repeatedly recharged at temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius—a first in the field. Full Story


New material is next step toward stable high-voltage long-life solid-state sodium-ion batteries

New material is next step toward stable high-voltage long-life solid-state sodium-ion batteries

February 23, 2021

A team of researchers designed and manufactured a new sodium-ion conductor for solid-state sodium-ion batteries that is stable when incorporated into higher-voltage oxide cathodes. This new solid electrolyte could dramatically improve the efficiency and lifespan of this class of batteries. A proof of concept battery built with the new material lasted over 1000 cycles while retaining 89.3% of its capacity--a performance unmatched by other solid-state sodium batteries to date.    Full Story


This flexible and rechargeable battery is 10 times more powerful than state of the art

This flexible and rechargeable battery is 10 times more powerful than state of the art

December 10, 2020

A team of researchers has developed a flexible, rechargeable silver oxide-zinc battery with a five to 10 times greater areal energy density than state of the art. The battery also is easier to manufacture; while most flexible batteries need to be manufactured in sterile conditions, under vacuum, this one can be screen printed in normal lab conditions. The device can be used in flexible, stretchable electronics for wearables as well as soft robotics. Full Story


10 Jacobs School Faculty Named in 2020 List of Highly Cited Researchers

10 Jacobs School Faculty Named in 2020 List of Highly Cited Researchers

December 8, 2020

Ten professors at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering are among the world’s most influential researchers in their fields, according to a new research citation report from the Web of Science Group. The professors, Ludmil Alexandrov, Trey Ideker, Rob Knight, Nathan E. Lewis, Prashant Mali, Ying Shirley Meng, Bernhard O. Palsson, Joseph Wang, Kun Zhang and Liangfang Zhang, are amone 52 professors and researchers at UC San Diego named in the prestigious list of Highly Cited Researchers in 2020. Full Story


Environmentally friendly method could lower costs to recycle lithium-ion batteries

Environmentally friendly method could lower costs to recycle lithium-ion batteries

November 12, 2020

A new process for restoring spent cathodes to mint condition could make it more economical to recycle lithium-ion batteries. The process, developed by nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego, is more environmentally friendly than today’s methods; it uses greener ingredients, consumes 80 to 90% less energy, and emits about 75% less greenhouse gases. Full Story


$39 Million to better integrate renewables into power grid

$39 Million to better integrate renewables into power grid

October 28, 2020

The National Science Foundation has awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at the University of California San Diego to build a first-of-its-kind testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.    Full Story


UC San Diego Launches Institute for Materials Discovery and Design

UC San Diego Launches Institute for Materials Discovery and Design

October 9, 2020

Climate change, public health and equal access to food and water are some of the biggest challenges facing humanity--and materials science can help provide solutions for them all. That was the message researchers shared during the launch of the Institute for Materials Discovery and Design (IMDD) at the University of California San Diego, held virtually Sept. 29.   Full Story


Toward all-solid-state lithium metal batteries

Toward all-solid-state lithium metal batteries

September 17, 2020

New work published in September 2020 in the journal Joule, led by researchers in the lab of UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng, will help explain this stability. In particular, the work unravels some of the mystery of the interface between lithium metal and LiPON. Full Story



Rare Glassy Metal Discovered During Quest to Improve Battery Performance

Rare Glassy Metal Discovered During Quest to Improve Battery Performance

July 24, 2020

Scientists from UC San Diego and Idaho National Laboratory scrutinized the earliest stages of lithium recharging and learned that slow, low-energy charging causes electrodes to collect atoms in a disorganized way that improves charging behavior. This noncrystalline “glassy” lithium had never been observed, and creating such amorphous metals has traditionally been extremely difficult.  Full Story


Green method could enable hospitals to produce hydrogen peroxide in house

Green method could enable hospitals to produce hydrogen peroxide in house

May 1, 2020

A team of researchers has developed a portable, more environmentally friendly method to produce hydrogen peroxide. It could enable hospitals to make their own supply of the disinfectant on demand and at lower cost. Full Story


New SPEC video

New SPEC video

April 30, 2020

New video highlights the incredible opportunities for students working on sustainable energy projects through the Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC) at UC San Diego. Full Story


UC San Diego battery pioneer Shirley Meng earns Faraday Medal from Royal Society of Chemistry

UC San Diego battery pioneer Shirley Meng earns Faraday Medal from Royal Society of Chemistry

April 6, 2020

Congratulations to UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng, who has earned the 2020 Faraday Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Meng is a leader in materials characterization and synthesis, including development of novel battery technologies that are driving a low-carbon, more sustainable future.    Full Story


Pathways toward realizing the promise of all-solid-state batteries

Pathways toward realizing the promise of all-solid-state batteries

March 13, 2020

UC San Diego nanoengineers offer a research roadmap describing four challenges that need to be addressed in order to advance a promising class of batteries, all-solid-state batteries, to commercialization. The researchers describe their work to tackle these challenges over the past three years. Full Story


'Spillway' for electrons could keep lithium metal batteries from catching fire

'Spillway' for electrons could keep lithium metal batteries from catching fire

March 12, 2020

UC San Diego nanoengineers developed a safety feature that prevents lithium metal batteries from rapidly overheating and catching fire in case of an internal short circuit. The clever tweak does not prevent battery failure, but rather provides advance warning of failure and makes it much safer. Full Story


Growing strained crystals could improve performance of perovskite electronics

Growing strained crystals could improve performance of perovskite electronics

January 9, 2020

A new method could enable researchers to build more efficient, longer lasting perovskite solar cells and LEDs. By growing thin perovskite films on different substrates, UC San Diego engineers invented a way of fabricating perovskite single crystals with precisely deformed, or strained, structures. Full Story


Study identifies main culprit behind lithium metal battery failure

Study identifies main culprit behind lithium metal battery failure

August 21, 2019

UC San Diego researchers have discovered the root cause of why lithium metal batteries fail, challenging a long-held belief in the field. The study presents new ways to boost battery performance and brings research a step closer to incorporating lithium anodes into rechargeable batteries.  Full Story


Y. Shirley Meng Named Editor-in-Chief of MRS Energy & Sustainability

Y. Shirley Meng Named Editor-in-Chief of MRS Energy & Sustainability

July 29, 2019

UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Y. Shirley Meng has been named Editor-in-Chief of the journal MRS Energy & Sustainability. Full Story


Three UC San Diego Engineering Professors Receive Presidential Early Career Awards

Three UC San Diego Engineering Professors Receive Presidential Early Career Awards

July 3, 2019

Three faculty members at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. Full Story


A cold-tolerant electrolyte for lithium-metal batteries emerges in San Diego

A cold-tolerant electrolyte for lithium-metal batteries emerges in San Diego

July 1, 2019

Improvements to a class of battery electrolyte first introduced in 2017 – liquefied gas electrolytes – could pave the way to a high-impact and long-sought advance for rechargeable batteries: replacing the graphite anode with a lithium-metal anode. The research, published July 1, 2019 by the journal Joule, builds on innovations first reported in Science in 2017 by the same research group at the University of California San Diego and the university spinout South 8 Technologies. Full Story


Shirley Meng among finalists for Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

Shirley Meng among finalists for Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

May 29, 2019

University of California San Diego nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng is among the Finalists of the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. She is one of 31 of the nation?s rising stars in science who will compete for three Blavatnik National Laureate Awards in the categories of Chemistry, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Life Sciences Full Story


Wearable cooling and heating patch could serve as personal thermostat and save energy

Wearable cooling and heating patch could serve as personal thermostat and save energy

May 17, 2019

UC San Diego engineers have developed a wearable patch that could provide personalized cooling and heating at home, work, or on the go. The soft, stretchy patch cools or warms a user’s skin to a comfortable temperature and keeps it there as the ambient temperature changes. It is powered by a flexible, stretchable battery pack and can be embedded in clothing. Researchers say wearing it could help save energy on air conditioning and heating. Full Story


Researchers improve method to recycle and renew used cathodes from lithium-ion batteries

Researchers improve method to recycle and renew used cathodes from lithium-ion batteries

April 17, 2019

UC San Diego researchers have improved their recycling process that regenerates degraded cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries. The new process is safer and uses less energy than their previous method in restoring cathodes to their original capacity and cycle performance. Full Story


Faculty celebrated for extraordinary teaching, research and service

Faculty celebrated for extraordinary teaching, research and service

April 4, 2019

Three Jacobs School of Engineering faculty are among the six UC San Diego faculty members who will be honored at the 45th annual Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards for innovative research, extraordinary teaching and making a difference in the community. Full Story


UC San Diego Part of DOE's First Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling R&D Center

UC San Diego Part of DOE's First Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling R&D Center

February 15, 2019

UC San Diego is a collaborator in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) first lithium-ion battery recycling research and development (R&D) initiative, called the ReCell Center, which was launched today. Zheng Chen, a professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego and faculty member of the university’s Sustainable Power and Energy Center, is working on a recycling process to restore used cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries so they can be used to build new batteries. Full Story


X-rays reveal why adding a bit of salt improves perovskite solar cells

X-rays reveal why adding a bit of salt improves perovskite solar cells

February 7, 2019

New findings about perovskites could pave the way to developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. Using high-intensity X-ray mapping, researchers explain why adding small amounts of cesium and rubidium salt improves the performance of perovskite solar cells.  Full Story


Combined economic and technological evaluation of battery energy storage for grid applications

Combined economic and technological evaluation of battery energy storage for grid applications

December 3, 2018

A new study offers a combined chemistry-and-economics approach that should make it easier to identify which kinds of batteries are best suited for integrating into the energy grid and making it financially viable. The approach combines analyses on multiple variables including battery chemistry, the tasks the batteries will be performing most often, energy pricing and market rules. Full Story


Scientists use artificial neural networks to predict new stable materials

Scientists use artificial neural networks to predict new stable materials

September 18, 2018

Artificial neural networks—algorithms inspired by connections in the brain—have “learned” to perform a variety of tasks, from pedestrian detection in self-driving cars, to analyzing medical images, to translating languages. Now, researchers at the University of California San Diego are training artificial neural networks to predict new stable materials. Full Story


UC San Diego receives award from Energy Department for battery research in advanced vehicle technologies

UC San Diego receives award from Energy Department for battery research in advanced vehicle technologies

September 13, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $2.5 million to a team led by the University of California San Diego for battery research in advanced vehicle technologies. The project is aimed at developing cobalt-free cathode materials for next-generation lithium-ion batteries. Shirley Meng, a professor of nanoengineering and the director of the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at UC San Diego, is the lead investigator on the project. The team involves Maxwell Technologies, a San Diego-based company that develops and manufactures energy storage and power delivery solutions. Full Story


Close-ups of grain boundaries reveal how sulfur impurities make nickel brittle

Close-ups of grain boundaries reveal how sulfur impurities make nickel brittle

July 17, 2018

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have shed new light on a scientific mystery regarding the atomic-level mechanism of the sulfur embrittlement of nickel, a classic problem that has puzzled the scientific community for nearly a century. The discovery also enriches fundamental understanding of general grain boundaries that often control the mechanical and physical properties of polycrystalline materials. Full Story


What's causing the voltage fade in Lithium-rich NMC cathode materials?

What's causing the voltage fade in Lithium-rich NMC cathode materials?

July 16, 2018

Researchers led by a University of California San Diego team have published work in the journal Nature Energy that explains what’s causing the performance-reducing “voltage fade” that currently plagues a promising class of cathode materials called Lithium-rich NMC (nickel magnesium cobalt) layered oxides. Full Story


UC San Diego's EV Charging Program Awarded for Modeling

UC San Diego's EV Charging Program Awarded for Modeling

June 21, 2018

The University of California San Diego has been honored with the 2018 Grid Edge Innovation Award for serving as an epicenter for research, development and commercialization on smart electric vehicle (EV) charging. UC San Diego has collaborations with over 18 companies and organizations in providing 135 EV charging stations on campus. In May alone, more than 700 different EVs were charged by UC San Diego’s world-renowned microgrid.UC San Diego is the first university to receive a Grid Edge Innovation Award from Greentech Media, a leading information services company for technologies, markets and businesses shaping the future of the electricity sector. Representatives from the campus will officially accept the honor on June 21 at a ceremony in San Francisco, Calif. Full Story


UC San Diego engineer receives award from Energy Department to advance concentrating solar power research

UC San Diego engineer receives award from Energy Department to advance concentrating solar power research

June 11, 2018

Renkun Chen, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California San Diego, has received a $1.18 million dollar award from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to develop technology that can advance next-generation concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. Full Story


Shirley Meng named finalist for 2018 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

Shirley Meng named finalist for 2018 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

May 31, 2018

The Blavatnik Family Foundation recently announced the finalists for 2018 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. SPEC Director and nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng is among the finalists. Full Story


Lasers, batteries and autonomy: get the latest updates at Research Expo

Lasers, batteries and autonomy: get the latest updates at Research Expo

March 15, 2018

Breakthrough lasers, better batteries for electric vehicles, and autonomous robots are on the docket for the faculty tech-talks at the 37th annual Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo at the University of California San Diego.  Full Story


A new podcast series from the Jacobs School of Engineering puts spotlight on graduate students

A new podcast series from the Jacobs School of Engineering puts spotlight on graduate students

March 6, 2018

All science is exciting. If that sounds like the premise for a podcast series focused on graduate students, you’re right. The all-science-is-exciting comment recently landed University of California San Diego NanoEngineering Ph.D. student Jungwoo Lee in front of a microphone. She is the first of a series of current and former graduate students from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering who will be sharing perspectives on research in not-too-technical terms as well as talking about what motivates them. Listen to the six-minute conversation on SoundCloud. Full Story


Supercomputers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with excellent color quality

Supercomputers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with excellent color quality

February 19, 2018

Computers have helped researchers develop a new phosphor that can make LEDs cheaper and render colors more accurately. An international team led by engineers at UC San Diego first predicted the new phosphor using supercomputers and data mining algorithms, then developed a simple recipe to make it in the lab. Unlike many phosphors, this one is made of inexpensive, earth-abundant elements and can easily be made using industrial methods. As computers predicted, the new phosphor performed well in tests and in LED prototypes. Full Story


UC San Diego innovator in data storage technologies elected to National Academy of Engineering

UC San Diego innovator in data storage technologies elected to National Academy of Engineering

February 9, 2018

Eric Fullerton, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and nanoengineering at the Jacobs School and Director of the School's Center for Memory and Recording Research, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “for invention and development of multilayer, high-density magnetic recording media.” His innovations made it possible for hard disk drives and non-volatile memories to store data at unprecedented levels. Full Story


Recycling and reusing worn cathodes to make new lithium ion batteries

Recycling and reusing worn cathodes to make new lithium ion batteries

January 25, 2018

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed an energy-efficient process to recycle and regenerate cathodes from spent lithium ion batteries, making them work just as good as new. The process involves harvesting the degraded cathode particles from a used battery and then boiling and heat treating them. Researchers built new batteries using the regenerated cathodes. Charge storage capacity, charging time and battery lifetime were all restored to their original levels. Full Story


Shirley Meng Named Inaugural Holder of UC San Diego Zable Endowed Chair in Energy Technologies

Shirley Meng Named Inaugural Holder of UC San Diego Zable Endowed Chair in Energy Technologies

January 11, 2018

Nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Zable Endowed Chair in Energy Technologies in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. As director of the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center, Meng is leading efforts to advance solutions to some of the key technical challenges associated with energy generation, storage and power management. Full Story


Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

November 21, 2017

The discovery of nanoscale changes deep inside hybrid perovskites could shed light on developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. Using X-ray beams and lasers, a team of researchers led by the University of California San Diego discovered how the movement of ions in hybrid perovskites causes certain regions within the material to become better solar cells than other parts. Full Story


Shirley Meng featured on ECS podcast

Shirley Meng featured on ECS podcast

October 23, 2017

NanoEngineering professor and SPEC Director Shirley Meng is featured in an in-depth interview on the Electrochemical Society (ECS) podcast. Full Story


Engineers develop tools to share power from renewable energy sources during outages

Engineers develop tools to share power from renewable energy sources during outages

September 5, 2017

 A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed algorithms that would allow homes to use and share power from their renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, during power outages. The approach involves strategically disconnecting the devices, called solar inverters, from the grid.  Full Story


From Theory to Microgrid: New Ideas from the Sustainable Power and Energy Center Research Summit

From Theory to Microgrid: New Ideas from the Sustainable Power and Energy Center Research Summit

July 31, 2017

Software that can design new materials for energy storage. X-ray visualization techniques to “see” inside batteries and solar cells. Green processes for making batteries. These were some of the projects presented at the Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC) Research Summit at the University of California San Diego on July 18. Full Story


Nanoengineer receives award from Energy Department to advance solar power technologies

Nanoengineer receives award from Energy Department to advance solar power technologies

July 13, 2017

University of California San Diego nanoengineering professor David Fenning has received an award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to lead a new project aimed at advancing research in solar photovoltaic technologies. The project will focus on developing a high resolution tool that can detect moisture in photovoltaic modules and predict how it will affect the modules’ performance. Full Story


Electrolytes made from liquefied gas enable batteries to run at ultra-low temperatures

Electrolytes made from liquefied gas enable batteries to run at ultra-low temperatures

June 15, 2017

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed new electrolytes that enable lithium batteries to run at temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius with excellent performance -- in comparison, today's lithium-ion batteries stop working at -20 degrees Celsius. The new electrolytes also enable electrochemical capacitors to run as cold as -80 degrees Celsius -- their current limit is -40 degrees Celsius. Full Story


Nuvve and UC San Diego to Demonstrate Vehicle-to-Grid Technology through Energy Commission Grant

Nuvve and UC San Diego to Demonstrate Vehicle-to-Grid Technology through Energy Commission Grant

June 15, 2017

The United States is home to more than half a million electric vehicles. What if all those vehicles could be turned into virtual power plants, feeding energy back into the grid while connected via a charger? Thanks to a $7.9 million grant from the California Energy Commission, San Diego-based Nuvve Corporation will demonstrate how this technology could work on a large-scale with help from UC San Diego. Full Story


South 8 Technologies wins Clean Tech prize at UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge

South 8 Technologies wins Clean Tech prize at UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge

June 5, 2017

A new battery technology that will allow electric vehicles to travel farther on a single charge -- with significant improvement in safety and cold weather performance -- received the Clean Tech top prize of $60,000 in the 10th annual UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge pitch competition on May 30, 2017. Full Story


Printed, flexible and rechargeable battery can power wearable sensors

Printed, flexible and rechargeable battery can power wearable sensors

May 24, 2017

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first printed battery that is flexible, stretchable and rechargeable. The zinc batteries could be used to power everything from wearable sensors to solar cells and other kinds of electronics. The work appears in the April 19, 2017 issue of Advanced Energy Materials.    Full Story


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