HRL Laboratories LLC will be a partner in Stanford University’s Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion (CNEEC), established in 2009 with a $20 M, five-year grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The CNEEC mission is to research sustainable energy technologies through nanostructuring and material science. Knowledge about how systems work at the nanoscale (1 billionth of a meter) can lead to advances in energy devices like solar cells and batteries.

Specifically, HRL scientists will investigate nanomaterials for lithium ion batteries, the most promising candidate to power next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles. “We will be looking for breakthroughs in battery technology by advancing our understanding of solid-state ionics at the nanoscale, also known as nanoionics,” said Ping Liu, Manager of the Energy Technologies Department at HRL and lead on the effort.

HRL will systematically study the effects of material size on its reaction with lithium. “Our theoretical understanding of nanoionics will guide us in designing new material architectures for next-generation lithium ion batteries with higher capacity and longer lifecycles,” Liu said.

In addition to staff and students from Stanford’s departments of chemical engineering, material science, engineering, mechanical engineering and physics, the Carnegie Institution and the Technical University of Denmark will also participate as CNEEC partners.