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MSE Seminar Series: Neil Dasgupta, U. of Michigan
Friday, October 27, 2017
1:00 p.m.
2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
For More Information:
Gary Rubloff

Speaker: Dr. Neil P. Dasgupta, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Title: Interfacial Engineering of Energy Conversion and Storage Materials using Atomic Layer Deposition


There has been a dramatic increase in research of nanoscale materials for energy conversion and storage devices due to several advantageous features such as high surface areas, short transport distances, and tunable material properties.  However, with these benefits come challenges. In particular, the ability to precisely control the properties of surfaces and heterogeneous interfaces limits the performance of many of these devices, and requires novel approaches. Additionally, the ability to manufacture materials with precise control of heterogeneous features in three dimensions and at length scales spanning from atoms to meters is challenging, requiring complementary processing techniques. To bridge this gap requires novel approaches to design material systems across these length scales, allowing us to fabricate hierarchical structures with deterministic control of geometric and chemical properties.

To address this challenge, our research group focuses on the atomically-precise modification of surfaces and interfaces to control material assembly and transport phenomena across physical and chemical boundaries. Examples include the integration of atomic clusters as catalysts with tunable sizes for solar-to-fuel conversion, surface passivation against undesirable reactions at electrode-electrolyte interfaces in batteries, and ‘bottom-up’ synthesis of textured surfaces for tunable wettability of fluids.  The key enabling technology that is used for surface modification is Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD).  This is a gas-phase deposition process capable of conformally coating high aspect-ratio structures with sub-nanometer control in thickness. This atomic-scale modification of surfaces allows for precise control of interactions at heterogeneous interfaces, which can be used to direct self-assembly processes, provide tunability of the optical, electronic, thermal, and mass transport properties of integrated material systems, and encapsulate structures to promote their stability in a wide range of environments.  In this talk, I will demonstrate examples of the ALD process for modification of electrode-electrolyte interfaces with an emphasis on “beyond Li-ion” batteries and solar-to-fuel conversion, and provide a perspective on how this versatile approach can lead to the design and manufacturing of material systems with precision at length scales ranging from atoms to meters.


Neil Dasgupta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2011. Prior to joining University of Michigan in 2014, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the recipient of an AFOSR Young Investigator Award (YIP), a 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, The SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, The AVS Paul H. Holloway Young Investigator Award, and The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Pi Tau Sigma Gold Metal. His research focuses on the intersection of nanotechnology, energy conversion, and manufacturing.

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