Think about how the world would look without computers, flat screens, rechargeable batteries and even something as obvious as steel and cement. Behind all these technologies lies materials with very special characteristics, which are achieved by controlling the chemical composition and the atomic structure of the materials – this control is called material chemistry.
Material chemistry is mainly about producing new materials for the technologies of the future. In my research group, we are aiming to understand the relationships between the methods we use to produce the materials in the lab, their nano- and atomic-scale structure and the properties of the materials.My research focuses particularly on producing and investigating new materials for rechargeable batteries, such as Li-ion batteries. In my laboratory, we use a number of chemical synthesis methods to produce new battery materials. We build small rechargeable batteries and test the performance of the materials. We examine the materials, including: Radiography, electron microscopy and thermal analysis. This provides us with knowledge of the chemical composition and how the material looks on the micro-and nano-scale and, not least, how the atoms in the material are positioned relative to each other. We are also very interested in investigating how the materials in the batteries change while the battery is being charged. For this we have developed special equipment which allows us to send X-rays through the batteries. By measuring the radiation that penetrates the battery, we can determine how the atoms move when the battery is in use. These studies require very strong x-rays, so we cannot make the measurements here in Denmark. Therefore, part of our work is done by large accelerators in United States, England and Germany.