Ever wonder what goes on at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory? The SLAC Public Lecture Series is your chance to find out! The evening lectures highlight the cutting-edge science happening at the laboratory. From the nanotechnology of diamonds to the latest Higgs Boson discoveries, SLAC public lectures provide non-scientists with a unique insight into the workings of our universe.
Improving Batteries from the Atoms Up
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In batteries, energy is stored in tiny particles within the electrodes that individually breathe in and out and chemically evolve as the battery is charged and discharged. Improving the efficiency and lifetime of batteries will require a better understanding of how these particles transform individually and how they interact within their own complex ecosystem and with their surrounding environment. X-rays from SLAC’s synchrotron allow scientists to take photographs of battery materials over a wide range of sizes, down to the size of individual particles and even the size of atoms. In this presentation, I will show photographs of some of these tiny battery components in action. Through this work, we are learning how to redesign batteries from the atoms up.
Yijin Liu received his PhD in optics in 2009 from a joint program of the University of Science & Technology of China and the Chinese Institute of High Energy Physics. He joined Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar in 2009 and came to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in 2012, where he is now a lead scientist. His specialty is making X-ray images of materials at multiple length scales and mining the data those images contain for scientific insights. This allows him to study the inner workings of complex materials, including the energy storage materials in batteries. In 2016, he was awarded the Spicer Young Investigator Award for wide-ranging work in energy materials, catalysis, carbon sequestration and materials under extreme conditions.
In his personal life, Yijin is interested in photography. He often says that you don’t need expensive camera gear to take a good photo. Still, when he takes X-ray photos, he often chooses to use a synchrotron, which costs roughly a billion dollars.
Public Lecture Highlights
Learn more about the work that we do by watching from our collection of popular recordings from our YouTube Playlist that highlights the breadth of our research.
Particle accelerators are used every day in a wide range of scientific, medical and industrial applications.
Presenter: Auralee Edelen
Giant planets can be up to 13 times the mass of Jupiter, while the least massive stars are about 80 times the mass of Jupiter.
Presenter: Eric Nielsen
SLAC's X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source, launched a new generation of light sources when it opened 10 years ago last month, with beams 10 billion times brighter than any before.
Presenter: Sebastien Boutet
At the center of the Earth, matter is crushed under pressures millions of times higher than we experience here on the surface.
Presenter: Emma McBride
Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a revolutionary technology for making 3D images of the inner workings of cells in much higher resolution than ever possible before.
Presenter: Wah Chiu
Increased demand for energy storage in consumer electronics, electric vehicles and the power grid presents opportunities and challenges for rechargeable battery research and development.
Presenter: Yi Cui
Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy, but it has struggled to compete with fossil fuels on cost.
Presenter: Kevin Stone
On September 14, 2015, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) made the first direct measurement of a gravitational wave coming from deep space.
Presenter: Brian Lantz
Dark matter is one of the most mysterious components of the universe.
Presenter: Tom Shutt
Shortly after the birth of the universe, space was filled by a plasma that was literally red-hot.
Presenter: Zeeshan Ahmed
The high standard of living we enjoy today is made possible by catalysts – behind-the-scenes agents that promote chemical reactions in the vast majority of industrial processes, including production of fertilizers, gasoline and other essential products.
Presenter: Simon Bare