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Researchers produce nanostructures with potential to advance energy devices

August 29, 2013

New types of nanostructures have shown promise for applications in electrochemically powered energy devices and systems, including advanced battery technologies.

One process for making these nanostructures is dealloying, in which one or more elemental components of an alloy are selectively leached out of materials. portrait of ASU engineer Karl Sieradki Download Full Image

Arizona State University researchers Karl Sieradzki and Qing Chen have been experimenting with dealloying lithium-tin alloys, and seeing the potential for the nanostructures they are producing to spark advances in lithium-ion batteries, as well as in expanding the range of methods for creating new nanoporous materials using the dealloying process.

Their research results are detailed in a paper they co-authored that was recently published on the website of the prominent science and engineering journal Nature Materials (Advance online publication). Read the article abstract.

Sieradzki is a materials scientist and professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Chen earned his doctoral degree in materials science at ASU last spring and is now a postdoctoral research assistant.

Nanoporous materials made by dealloying are comprised of nanometer-scale zigzag holes and metal. These structures have found application in catalysis (used to increase the rate of chemical reactions), as well as actuation (used to mechanically move or control various mechanisms or systems) and supercapacitors (which provide a large amount of high electrical capacity in small devices). They could also improve the performance of electrochemical sensing technology and provide more resilient radiation damage-resistant materials.

The nanostructures that Sieradzki and Chen have produced by dealloying lithium-tin alloys allow for more efficient transport and storage of the electric charge associated with lithium, while the small size prevents fracture of the tin reservoir that serves as a storage medium for lithium.  

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the leading types of rechargeable batteries. They are widely used in consumer products, particularly portable electronics, and are being increasingly used in electric vehicles and aerospace technologies.

Sieradzki and Chen say that with more research and development, the porous nanostructures produced by dealloying lithium alloys could provide a lithium-ion battery with improved energy-storage capacity and a faster charge and discharge – enabling it to work more rapidly.

One major advantage is that the porous nanostructures providing this electrochemical power boost can evolve spontaneously during tunable dealloying processing conditions. This, Sieradzki explains, opens up possibilities for developing new nanomaterials that could have a multitude of technological applications.

“There are a lot of metals that scientists and engineers have not been able to make nanoporous,” he says. “But it turns out that with lithium you can lithiate and de-lithiate a lot of materials, and do it easily at room temperature. So this could really broaden the spectrum for what’s possible in making new nanoporous materials by dealloying.”

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


New School for the Science of Health Care Delivery launches at ASU

August 30, 2013

Semester kicks off with telehealth robot demonstration

The first of its kind in the country, the School for the Science of Health Care Delivery at Arizona State University kicked off its intense, accelerated master’s degree program in style. Students were treated to a demonstration of Mayo Clinic’s telehealth robot, a robotic device that allows physicians to see and interact with patients and staff remotely and manage care delivery just as if they were in the same room. Download Full Image

Victor Trastek, former CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and a faculty member at the school, gave students a demonstration of the robot. He simulated how a stroke victim has access to a neurologist despite being treated in a minimally-staffed, rural hospital.

“Not a lot of students can say that a robot demonstration took place on their second day of class. This telehealth robot and classroom skit intrigued everyone,” student Brandi Rone said. “Students quickly pulled out their phones to take pictures. ASU's faculty and staff did an excellent job organizing and presenting this specialized program. My excitement for the program exceeds words."

“The robot is just one example of how health care is changing,” Alison Essary, director of student affairs and professor in the school, said. “It’s important for students to see how innovation is making a real difference in the way health is delivered.”

The master’s program is a nine-month, 30-credit interprofessional, cross disciplinary, experiential graduate program.

Professors of the program hope students gain a broad view and understanding, with real-world implications, of current and future challenges within the health system.

“We’re striving to prepare graduates of the program to promote health care transformation at the organization and system level,” said Keith Lindor, M.D., executive vice provost and dean of the College of Health Solutions. “We want students, coming from a variety of backgrounds, to learn and apply their knowledge and skills to revolutionize the future of health.”

The Master of Science in the Science of Health Care Delivery is the first degree offered by the school. This fall, 36 students are enrolled in the program and they come from a variety of backgrounds, including nursing, biology, business and health. In addition to the course load, the program connects students with industry leaders such as Banner Health, Barrow Neurological Institute, the Mayo Clinic and Mountain Park Health Center through a capstone consulting project. William Riley, an internationally recognized expert in the field of public health, is director of the school.

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