Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start
Ph.D. Student

Thomas Colburn

Materials Science and Engineering, admitted Autumn 2020

TomKat Graduate Fellow for Translational Research

Research Lab: Reinhold Dauskardt

Year Awarded: 2022

Thomas is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering advised by Prof. Reinhold Dauskardt. His research focuses on ultrasonic spray deposition and rapid curing of thin-films for energy applications including conductors, organic electron transport layers, perovskites, and battery electrolytes. During his undergraduate studies with honors in chemical engineering at Stanford, he worked for four years in Zhenan Bao's group studying scalable deposition of all-polymer solar cells.

Google Scholar Page

Scalable synthesis with rapid curing for thin-film battery electrolytes

Thin-film solid state batteries (SSBs) hold the potential to radically transform battery technologies by providing safer, lighter weight, and more energetically dense storage. SSBs hold particular promise in the area of electric vehicles, mobile devices, and drones where weight and user safety is a critical concern. Dangerous and costly  battery incidents surrounding consumer electronics and vehicles provide stark reminders of the critical safety challenges facing the liquid-based Li-ion battery marketplace. 

SSB architectures with solid-state electrolytes remove the need for toxic, flammable liquid electrolytes while providing a high shear modulus to aid in dendrite blocking. Current fabrication techniques of many SSB electrolytes involve extensive high temperature annealing and long processing times which make scalable manufacturing a challenge. We aim to reduce the fabrication times, temperatures, and costs by utilizing an innovative synthetic approach coupled with rapid curing techniques to form battery electrolyte materials in short duration and with minimal energy input. The goal of this work is to develop a translational manufacturing platform to aid in the development and deployment of next-generation energy storage devices.