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Department welcomes Vicky Doan-Nguyen

Vicky Doan-NguyenVicky Doan-NguyenThe Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) will increase their capacity in energy storage and conversion with the appointment of Vicky Doan-Nguyen, who will join the program as an assistant professor in August 2017.

“Global solutions for electrical energy storage and energy conversion issues rely on nanomaterials designed to be durable electrodes and catalysts,” Doan-Nguyen said. Issues of electrode stability, chemical reversibility, and catalyst positioning remain a challenge.

Design solutions stem from studying dynamic surface and interfacial chemistry and structure in these materials using in-situ local structural probes.

“My group’s research combines smart design, synthesis, novel local structure probes, and functional testing of nanostructured materials to understand how structural changes at the atomic scale propagate to functional performance,” Doan-Nguyen explained.

Functional properties of these materials are often not well understood from a structural perspective. Harnessing a suite of emerging structural characterization techniques will allow Doan-Nguyen and her group to visualize and track previously inaccessible dynamics that govern surface-mediated reduction-oxidation chemistry in both electrochemical energy storage and heterogeneous catalysis.

“Combining advanced techniques such as element–specific in-situ electron microscopy, synchrotron-based X-ray scattering and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAFS), and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) will enable us to design next generation materials for electrochemical energy storage and heterogeneous catalysis,” she said.

Much of Doan-Nguyen’s research will take place at CEMAS. In-situ electron microscopy allows us have greater insight into the structural evolution of interfaces in batteries. This is particularly useful for designing next generation all-solid cells, which will result in safer batteries.

“We’re delighted that Dr. Doan-Nguyen will join the existing MSE faculty members based at CEMAS. Her plans to develop in-situ and in-operando capabilities to study the dynamics of energy storage materials in the transmission electron microscope are very exciting.  I anticipate that Dr. Doan-Nguyen will be highly sought after as a CEMAS collaborator for faculty across Ohio State working on energy materials,” said David W. McComb, professor, Ohio Research Scholar and director of CEMAS.

Doan-Nguyen is currently a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow and an Ellings Prize Fellow in the Ram Seshadri Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is also in the Bruce S. Dunn Group at the University of California, Los Angeles.

She earned her B.S. in chemistry and women’s and gender studies from Yale University, followed by M.S. and Ph.D., both in materials science and engineering, at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Crystallographic Association, and the Electrochemical Society.