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KNI Distinguished Webinar: Dr. Betar Gallant, MIT

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Online Event
Advancing the Materials and Chemistry of High-Energy Batteries
Betar Gallant, ABS Career Development Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  • Public Event

Join the Kavli Nanoscience Institute for a special KNI Distinguished Webinar with our former KNI Prize Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Betar Gallant, ABS Career Development Professor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

Event is free and open to the public; registration is required. REGISTER HERE.

Talk Title: Advancing the Materials and Chemistry of High-Energy Batteries


In coming decades, society must undergo an unprecedented transition from fossil energy to one based increasingly on renewable electricity coupled to chemical transformations. In pursuit of this vision, our research is developing advanced materials and chemistries that underlie near- and longer-term electrochemical storage technologies for clean power and mobility. First, I will describe our efforts to increase the energy density of today's rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles by enabling the lithium (Li) metal anode, a long-sought ‘Holy Grail' that has faced significant hurdles since the early days of Li-based technology. These issues arise from the instability of the fragile, nanoscale solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), which causes Li to suffer from poor reversibility, curtailed cycle life and safety issues, and for which rational design principles are still being sought. I will describe our efforts to develop novel methodologies to study the Li interface and discuss how these approaches are elucidating new insights regarding its chemistry, material properties and function. Such insights are collectively informing powerful strategies to develop better interfaces through electrolyte and additive design. In addition, at the cell level, the high energy density of Li anodes is further realized when combined with high-energy cathodes. In the second part of my talk, I will describe our efforts pioneering a new class of cathode conversion chemistry that harnesses reactivity of ultra-high-energy fluorinated gas or liquid reactants, reaching exceptionally high numbers of electron transfers (exceeding 8 e-/molecule). These efforts have identified compelling motifs for making safer, high-energy primary batteries in the near term, and underpin ongoing efforts to bring these emergent chemistries into the realm of rechargeability in the longer term. Underlying our approach is a continued drive to master electrochemical transformations at the molecular and nanoscales, which is central for unlocking needed device-scale performances.


Betar Gallant is currently the ABS Career Development Professor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Dr. Gallant completed her SB (‘08), SM (‘10) and PhD (‘13) degrees in the same department, where her doctoral research focused on nonaqueous oxygen electrochemistry for lithium-air batteries. After graduating, Dr. Gallant was a Kavli Nanoscience Institute Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech, where she conducted research into architectures for solar fuel-generating electrochemical devices along with additional collaborative efforts on Li-air batteries. At MIT, Dr. Gallant leads the Energy and Gas Conversion Laboratory, which is developing insights into new reaction mechanisms that underpin advanced energy storage devices and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. Dr. Gallant has been the recipient of multiple awards, such as a 2016 Bose Fellow (MIT), an Army Research Office Young Investigator Program Award (2019), the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching at MIT (2019), a Scialog Fellow in Energy Storage and in Negative Emissions Science (2019-2020), an NSF CAREER Award (2021), among others.

Please see the KNI Distinguished Seminar Series webpage for updates on future speakers as well as links to recordings of previous seminars.

For more information, please contact Tiffany Kimoto by email at [email protected].