Clara Tibbetts

Sustainability Leadership Fellow Cohort: 2020-2021

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Chemistry

Research Summary: I research lithium ion batteries, like in a smartphone. These batteries need lithium to move back and forth during charging. Eventually batteries die, and one reason is the liquid inside breaks down. The liquid breakdown forms a layer. This layer can form like a brick wall, letting nothing through. Ideally though the layer forms more like a gated fence that only lithium has the key to. Therefore, lithium can move back and forth, giving the battery a longer life. Understanding why different layers form is important. Therefore, I am developing a technique with lasers to watch liquids breakdown in batteries.