Science for our
Energy Future

Energy Frontier Research Center

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Three Ways of Looking at a Battery

​I. Vision

Small structures can build greater things
-- Nano, micro, meso, more --
Storing energy for a better tomorrow.

A tube of carbon grows upward, free,
Plumped with lithium through its core.
Small structures can build greater things.

Bring down all sight into a wee
Space where light waits like an ore,
Storing energy for a better tomorrow.

Discoveries made here show that we
Know more than was ever known before:
Small structures can build greater things.

A child, a river, the air, a tree.
The future is what our work is for:
Storing energy for a better tomorrow.

We study the images hoping to see
What insight tells reason, underscored.
Small structures can build greater things --
Storing energy for a better tomorrow.

II. Nanopore

Once upon a late lab session, as I pondered with deepened passion
Upon the structure of a imaged micrograph gray–
While I studied, deeply thinking, suddenly there came a singing
As of someone‘s text message winging,
Pinging from my phone’s SMS.
An urgent message, SMS!

How truly I rely on the time in late July
The sweaty empty halls when all the students go away.
I stay late, don’t eat: to equipment I retreat
Write, observe, program, repeat
To beat the deadlines I must finish!
Before the deadlines, I must finish.

Though interruptions I deplore, I heard the sound grow more and more--
It filled my brain with tinkles gay--
Whoever the transgressor, it grew no lesser.
Alas, I found it was my professor
Seeing if my project’s o’er.
Assuming that my project’s o’er!

“My solution must now be implied, but I can’t find it, Prof!” I cried.
I wrung my hands in great dismay.
While I worried, the prof, unhurried
Studied my pic, though it was blurry.
Quoth professor, “Nanopore.”
Only this and nothing more.

Back to my pics now I went, my mind no longer so absent
I checked and found it clear as day
The structure that had made me tremble, now I checked the TEM pull,
Did indeed to mine eye resemble
That mysterious and amazing feature in the core!
“Truly, professor, nanopore.
Only this and nothing more.”

III. The Path

Structural connectivity for transport longevity,
Is it the impasse in between that makes the disparity?
A corner, a void, or concavity,
That traps energy from reaching its ultimate capacity.

The quintessential endgame rests in the repository,
Harvesting electron by electron preparatory
For the day when fruition bursts forth
To transform energy to another life story.

About the Image: 

This Image has three scaling aspects -


    On the "Macroscale" - Tree of Nanostructure Architecture

    On the "Mesoscale" - five composite images from NEES researchers were used

  • Liangbing Hu's & Gary Rubloff's sponge image - "Role of mesoporosity in cellulose fibers for paper-based fast electrochemical energy storage" J. Mater. Chem. A (2013) Doi 10.1039/c3ta10972k (UMD)
  • Tom Picraux's forest and degradation work - "Silicon nanowire degradation and stabilization during lithium cycling by SEI layer formation" Nano Lett. (2014) DOI 10.1021/nl500130e; "Enhanced Lithium Ion Battery Cycling of Silicon Nanowire Anodes by Template Growth to Eliminate Silicon Underlayer Islands" Nano Lett. (2013) DOI 10.1021/nl4036498 (LANL, NEES-1 member)
  • Reg Penner's LPNE nanowires - "Lithographically Patterned Gold/Manganese Dioxide Core/Shell Nanowires for High Capacity, High Rate, and High Cyclability Hybrid Electrical Energy Storage" Chem. Mater. (2012) DOI 10.1021/cm3011474 (UCI)
  • Sang Bok Lee's AAO mesoscale pore structure - "Anodization control for barrier-oxide thinning and 3D interconnected pores and direct electrodeposition of nanowire networks on native aluminium substrates" PCCP (2015) DOI 10.1039/C4CP04211E (UMD)

On the "Nanoscale" - 40 different NEES images were imbedded in the Mosaic, each tile the size of a dime in the final dimension.

Elizabeth Lathrop, Martha J. Heil, Ernie Cleveland, Pradeep R. Rajasekaran

EFRC: Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES)