Public Lectures

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.

Scheduled Lecture

Improving Batteries from the Atoms Up

Yijin Liu ,
Thursday, February 11, 2021 5:00 pm

Join us onZoom (passcode: 650650)

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.

About the Speaker:
Yijin Liu

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.

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Super-Human Operator: Controlling Accelerators with Machine Learning

Particle accelerators are used every day in a wide range of scientific, medical and industrial applications.

Presenter: Auralee Edelen


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Brown Dwarfs: Failed Stars or Overachieving Planets?

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


Seeing is Exploding poster

Seeing is Exploding: Snapping Biological Images with X-ray Laser Blasts

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


Liquid Diamond poster

Liquid Diamonds: New Materials at Pressures of the Earth's Core

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


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Cryo-EM: Amazing 3-D Views of Life's Molecular Machines

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


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Batteries for the Future: What's Possible?

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


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Paint-on solar cells poster

Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy, but it has struggled to compete with fossil fuels on cost.

Presenter: Kevin Stone


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Gravitational Waves: The Sound of Black Holes Colliding

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


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Dark Matter: Detecting Gravity's Hidden Hand

Dark matter is one of the most mysterious components of the universe.

Presenter: Tom Shutt


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Viewing the Beginning of Time from the Most Remote Places on Earth

Shortly after the birth of the universe, space was filled by a plasma that was literally red-hot.

Presenter: Zeeshan Ahmed


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Catalysis: the Hidden Path to Foods, Fuels and Our Future

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