Batteries with Higher-Energy Density

You say you want a (battery) revolution? How about a car battery that powers your vehicle for several hundred miles? Or a smartphone battery that lasts a full month, one you never need to charge while traveling?

Batteries with higher energy density are the research targets of Junjie Niu, Assistant Professor, Materials Science Engineering. Much of Niu’s research focuses on the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. Because they are rechargeable and produce high energy density, the demand for such batteries continues to grow with the use of mobile devices and electric vehicles.

Working with labs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Niu is studying the electrochemical reactions of lithium-ion batteries in situ, discerning at the atomic level the fundamental properties of the electrode materials. The new electrode active material is key to higher-performing batteries, he says.

Working with Johnson Controls—the world’s largest provider of lead-acid batteries—Niu also is researching enhanced flooded lead-acid batteries that support the fuel-saving start-stop technology of hybrid and electric cars.

His other current research includes water and air purification filters—that remove heavy metal, viruses and bacteria—and the development of a self-cleaning coating. The engineered coating—similar to a fish skin—activates when wet and could be applied to the surfaces of building glass and car windshields, for example, decreasing the need for cleaning.

Niu is associate editor of the international journal RSC Advances, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

You can contact Junjie Niu at: