MSE Virtual Seminar: “Lithionics” – On the Design of Lithium Oxides for Novel Neuromorphic Computing Functions


3:00 pm-4:00 pm
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Dr. Jennifer Rupp is the Thomas Lord Associate Professor of Electrochemical Materials at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. Prior she was a non-tenure track assistant professor at ETH Zurich Switzerland where she held two prestigious externally funded career grants, namely an ERC Starting Grant (SNSF) and Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) professorship.

She previously was affiliated as a visiting and senior scientist at MIT (2012-2011), the National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS) in Tsukuba, Japan (2011), and was working as a postdoc at ETH Zurich (2010-2006). Rupp team`s current research interests are on processing of ceramic and glass materials, solid state material design and tuning of structure-property relations for novel energy and information devices and operation schemes. This ranges from alternative energy storage via solid state batteries, solar-to-synthetic fuel conversion or novel types of neuromorphic memories and computing logic entities for data storage and transfer beyond transistors and new sensing functions to track chemicals in the environment. Here, her team goes the whole way from material design, novel processing techniques to make ceramics, cermets or glassy-type ceramic structures up to novel device prototypes, their operation and characteristics.

She has published more than 110 papers, holds 19 patents, and, being a frequent speaker and panel member of the World Economic Forum, enjoys discussing material tech trends on the theme of energy with the public, economists and policy makers. Rupp also enjoys engaging with companies all around the world through both consultancy and collaborations focused either on material processing business or electrochemical device & product engineering (e.g. battery, oil & fuel processing, sensing, electronic companies). Currently, she holds a position as associate editor at Journal of Materials Chemistry A and is also on the advisory board member for Advanced Functional Materials and Advanced Materials Interfaces.

Rupp and team received several honors and awards such as the Displaying Future Award by the company Merck KGaA 2018 for a glucose converting fuel cell chip, BASF and Volkswagen Science Award 2017 for battery research, “Top 40 international scientist under the age of 40” by World Economic Forum 2015, Spark Award for the most innovative and economically important invention of the year 2014 at ETH Zurich, Kepler award “new materials in energy technology” by the European Academy of Science 2012 or Young Scientist Award by the Solid State Ionic Society. In 2021, Rupp was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). She gave keynote lectures at Royal Society UK 2018, Nature Energy conference 2016, Gordon Research lecture 2014 and many others, also she presented on battery and energy technologies at the World Economic Forum 2017.


The next generation of energy storage may largely benefit from fast Li+ ceramic electrolyte conductors to allow for safe and efficient batteries. With recent discoveries in thin-film processing solid-state lithium-ion conductors, such as Li-garnets and LIPON or LiSICON-based solids, have been recently considered as candidate materials not only for next-generation solid-state batteries but also for neuromorphic computing via memristors owing to the fast ionic transport in the solid-state electrolyte.

In the first part of this talk, we review current needs and challenges in the field of solid-state batteries. We underline the advantages of various Li solid-state conductor materials and reflect on opportunities of thin-film processing, being a requirement to define precisely the Lithium stoichiometries and related electronic state changes for transition metal ions, miniaturize the device, and reach high energy/information densities for energy storage, computation, and sensing.

In the second part, we focus on Li-film processing and controlling Lithium stoichiometries to reach fast conductive phases for Li garnets and Li titanates as solid-state battery components, and memristive neuromorphic computing units. Insights on structure-phase-transport interaction and implications on performances will be exemplified for energy storage aiming high energy densities, and modulations of synaptic artificial weights through lithium-induced metal-to-insulator transitions in lithium titanate memristors.


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UF Materials Science & Engineering Dept.