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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Cation‐disordered rocksalt (DRX) cathodes have recently emerged as a promising class of cobalt‐free, high‐capacity cathodes for lithium‐ion batteries. To facilitate their commercialization, the development of scalable synthesis techniques providing control over composition and morphology is critical. To this end, a sol‐gel synthesis route to prepare Mn‐rich DRX cathodes with high capacities is presented here. Several compositions with varied Mn content and nominal F doping are successfully prepared using this technique. In‐situ X‐ray diffraction measurements demonstrate that DRX formation proceeds at moderate temperature (800 °C) through the sol‐gel route, which enables intimate mixing among reactive intermediate phases that form at lower temperatures. All synthesized compositions possess cation short‐range order, as evidenced by neutron pair distribution function and electron diffraction analysis. These DRX materials demonstrate promising electrochemical performance with reversible capacities up to 275 mAh g. Compared to the baseline oxide (Li1.2Mn0.4Ti0.4O2), the Mn‐rich compositions exhibit improved cycling stability, with some showing an increase in capacity upon cycling. Overall, this study demonstrates the feasibility of preparing high‐capacity DRX cathodes through a sol‐gel based synthesis route, which may be further optimized to provide better control over the product morphology compared to traditional synthesis methods.

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  3. Abstract

    Metal halide perovskites (MHPs) have attracted broad research interest due to their outstanding optoelectronic performance. This performance has been attributed in part to the presence of polarization in these materials. However, the precise effects of chemical environment and strain condition on the polar states in MHPs have largely been missing. It is revealed for the first time that chemical gradient is directly coupled with strain gradient in CH3NH3PbI3. This strain–chemical gradient induces an electric polarization that can potentially affect charge carrier dynamics. Furthermore, it is unveiled that this electric polarization—unlike ferroelectricity that only exists in noncentrosymmetric materials—can be present in both tetragonal and cubic phases of CH3NH3PbI3. This suggests that the strain–chemical gradient induced polarization is a more convincing explanation of the outstanding photovoltaic properties of MHPs than the hotly debated ferroelectric polarization. Finally, a mechanism of how this polarization impacts photovoltaic action is proposed, which offers insightful advances in the development of MHPs.

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  4. Abstract

    Given the remarkable performance of hybrid organic–inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) in solar cells, light emitters, and photodetectors, the quest to advance the fundamental understanding of the photophysical properties in this class of materials remains highly relevant. Recently, the discovery of ferroic twin domains in HOIPs has renewed the debate of the ferroic effects on optoelectric processes. This work explores the interaction between light and ferroic twin domains in CH3NH3PbI3. Due to strain and chemical inhomogeneities, photogenerated electrons and holes show a preferential motion in the ferroelastic twin domains. Density functional theory (DFT) shows that electrons and holes result in lattice expansion in CH3NH3PbI3differently. Hence, light generates strain in the ferroelastic domains due to preferential photocarrier motion, leading to a screening of strain variation. X‐ray diffraction studies verify the DFT simulations and reveal that the photoinduced strain is light intensity dependent, and the photoexcitation is a prerequisite of inducing strain by light. This work extends the fundamental understanding of light‐ferroic interaction and offers guidance for developing functional devices.

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