Driven by growing concerns about global warming and the depletion of fossil fuel, development of sustainable energy conversion and storage techniques has become one of the most important scientific challenges in the 21st century. In the societal pursuit of this quest, the design of high performance energy materials is critical to improve the efficiencies of chemical and electrochemical processes, and offer hope for commercially viable clean energy applications.
Dr. Feng’s research has been focused in three main directions: energy storage, conversion and harvesting; catalysts for electrochemical and chemical reactions; and development and application of advanced synchrotron based X-ray techniques for in situ real time studies. Dr. Feng has been working on lithium-sulfur, lithium-ion and beyond lithium-ion (such as magnesium batteries, etc.) for storing electricity in chemical and electrochemical forms.
In order to improve the energy harvesting and conversion efficiency, Dr. Feng's lab studies catalysts using both model systems and real materials to figure out their intrinsic descriptors that govern materials chemical and electrochemical properties. As the gas/solid and liquid/solid interfaces in these energy systems are critical parts where many important reactions take place, Dr. Feng develops and applies advanced synchrotron X-ray techniques, including scattering, spectroscopy, imaging, and pump-probe methods at different national user facilities (e.g., Advanced Photon Source in Argonne National Lab, Advanced Light Source in Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Lab), to understand the interfacial processes during operational conditions. The learned mechanistic insights, in turn, have helped researchers to further design many energy materials in a rational way.
Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) of Argonne National Lab, 2013-2016
Ph.D. — Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2011