Dr. Karl T. Mueller, Characterizing the Chemistries of Operating Battery Systems: Current Art and Future Dreams

157 Hosler Bldg

Special Polymer Physics Seminar ~~

Dr. Karl T. Mueller

Chief Science and Technology Officer
Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA  99352

10:00 AM Monday
February 26th, 2018
157 Hosler Bldg.

Characterizing the Chemistries of Operating Battery Systems:  Current Art and Future Dreams

Abstract: The design and achievement of superior battery systems (i.e., those that are more efficient, higher in energy density, safer, more environmentally friendly, etc.) requires knowledge of fundamental chemical and physical properties of the system and its components while under true operating conditions.  Such advanced knowledge can be obtained through both modeling and experimental efforts.  In the case of battery systems designed to replace the well-known lithium ion battery systems, new chemistries in particular are being explored, classified, and improved using state-of-the-art characterization and computational tools.  New analytical tools have been developed for the study of these advanced battery systems in destructive, post-mortem modes as well as while the battery is under operating conditions. Further, certain aspects of the battery chemistry and operation can also be modeled and reproduced with varying degrees of fidelity through computational studies that cross scales from the atomic and molecular to the sizes of pores and beyond. The combination of these experimental techniques and computational tools will eventually lead to predictive understanding of battery components and their operation in the complete battery system.  This presentation will focus on progress in merging operando studies utilizing advanced spectroscopies (NMR, EPR, x-ray, IR, etc.), in situ imaging (electron microscopy, XPS, etc.), and computational chemistry (especially ab initio and molecular dynamics simulations) to understand components of complex battery systems.

Bio: Karl Mueller is the Chief Science and Technology Officer for Physical and Computational Sciences at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).  In this role, he leads and advocates a Science and Technology vision for the physical and computational sciences that builds scientific reputation and provides technical integration to ensure regional, national, and international impact.  He has built a strategy at PNNL focused on chemical reactions at complex interfaces, new discoveries in nuclear and particle physics, and the science of computing.  He is also leading laboratory-level scientific strategy for the reinvention of chemical catalysis and catalyst systems and is co-lead for the DOE Big Idea on CARBON (Carbon Advanced Research for Building Our Nation). In the science arena, Dr. Mueller is an internationally recognized expert in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and its application to complex materials and environmental systems.  In this capacity, he is the PNNL lead for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a DOE Office of Science Energy Innovation Hub, whose mission is to overcome critical scientific and technical barriers and create transformative battery technology for transportation and the electric grid.  Within JCESR, he works with a team of scientists and engineers who are developing new battery materials and probing them across the necessary ranges of space (from atomic dimensions to full batteries) and time (from nanoseconds to days). Dr. Mueller was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012 for his contributions to the field of magnetic resonance.  He is also a Laboratory Fellow at PNNL, and the recipient of numerous awards including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Young Investigator Award, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, and an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award.  He currently sits on the Science Advisory Council for the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Dr. Mueller earned his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and a BS in chemistry from the University of Rochester.  He spent one year abroad (1985-1986) at Cambridge University as a Churchill Scholar.  Prior to joining PNNL in 2010, he rose through the faculty ranks to become a Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University where he oversaw the thesis research of 25 doctoral students in the chemical sciences.