de Pablo Group: Weiwei Chu

PhD Candidate

de Pablo Group


Designing high energy density batteries with low energy loss are an import aspect of efficient use of energy. Lithium batteries are promising to meet certain standards due to its high energy densities, low self-discharge rates, high open circuit potentials and minimal memory effects. Lithium batteries utilizing solid block copolymer electrolytes have gained considerable interest due to their mechanical, electrochemical and thermal stabilities. Besides these, it is necessary for such batteries to have sufficient ion conductivity. Ion conductivity is related to the thermodynamics of the lithium salt/block copolymer mixture and the distribution of ions in the block copolymer domains. One primary research interest is the order-to-disorder transition (ODT) of the block copolymers. Based on the theoretically informed coarse-grained (TICG) model, we introduced inhomogeneous dielectric constant to deal with the interaction between ions and polymers. The Hamiltonian for our model includes bonded energy, nonbonded energy, Born solvation energy and Coulomb energy. By solving Poisson’s equation with discrete Fourier transform and Green’s function, we get the electrostatic potential and thus Born solvation energy and Coulomb energy. Through this model, we can study the microphase separation behavior and salt distribution of the system.


Weiwei is from Yantai, China. She attended Zhejiang University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in polymer science and engineering in June 2013. She was an exchange student at the University of Hong Kong from September 2010 to June 2011 and then worked as a research assistant in Professor Chi-Ming Che’s group in HKU from June 2011 to September 2011. She also worked as an intern director in a famous dating TV show called the Choice in Zhejiang TV station from March 2013 to August 2013. In June of 2014, she gained her Master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Chicago. Currently, Weiwei is working towards her PhD degree under the advisement of Professor Juan de Pablo. In her free, she enjoys ballroom dancing.

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