Recent News

March 2018

Congratulations to Tyler Cosby for his recent article published in Physical Review Letters.

January 2018

Congratulations to Tyler Cosby for his recent article published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

October 1-5, 2017

The group recently attended the 232nd meeting of the Electrochemical Society in National Harbor, MD.

Associating imidazoles: Elucidating the correlation between the static dielectric permittivity and proton conductivity

Broadband dielectric spectroscopy is employed to investigate the impact of supramolecular structure on charge transport and dynamics in hydrogen-bonded 2-ethyl-4-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazol. Detailed analyses reveal (i) an inverse relationship between the average supramolecular chain length and proton conductivity and (ii) no direct correlation between the static dielectric permittivity and proton conductivity in imidazoles. These findings raise fundamental questions regarding the widespread notion that extended supramolecular hydrogen-bonded networks facilitate proton conduction in hydrogen bonding materials.

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Dynamic and structural evidence of mesoscopic aggregation in phosphonium ionic liquids

Mesoscopic aggregation in aprotic ionic liquids due to the microphase separation of polar and non-polar components is expected to correlate strongly with the physicochemical properties of ionic liquids and therefore their potential applications. The most commonly cited experimental evidence of such aggregation is the observation of a low-q pre-peak in the x-ray and neutron scattering profiles, attributed to the polarity alternation of polar and apolar phases. In this work, a homologous series of phosphonium ionic liquids with the bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide anion and systematically varying alkyl chain lengths on the phosphonium cation are investigated by small and wide-angle x-ray scattering, dynamic-mechanical spectroscopy, and broadband dielectric spectroscopy. A comparison of the real space correlation distance corresponding to the pre-peak and the presence or absence of the slow sub-α dielectric relaxation previously associated with the motion of mesoscale aggregates reveals a disruption of mesoscale aggregates with increasing symmetry of the quaternary phosphonium cation. These findings contribute to the broader understanding of the interplay of molecular structures, mesoscale aggregation, and physicochemical properties in aprotic ionic liquids..

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Experimental evidence for bipolaron condensation as a mechanism for the metal-insulator transition in rare-earth nickelatesy

Many-body effects produce deviations from the predictions of conventional band theory in quantum materials, leading to strongly correlated phases with insulating or bad metallic behavior. One example is the rare-earth nickelates RNiO3, which undergo metal-to-insulator transitions (MITs) whose origin is debated. Here, we combine total neutron scattering and broadband dielectric spectroscopy experiments to study and compare carrier dynamics and local crystal structure in LaNiO3 and NdNiO3. We find that the local crystal structure of both materials is distorted in the metallic phase, with slow, thermally activated carrier dynamics at high temperature. We further observe a sharp change in conductivity across the MIT in NdNiO3, accompanied by slight differences in the carrier hopping time. These results suggest that changes in carrier concentration drive the MIT through a polaronic mechanism, where the (bi)polaron liquid freezes into the insulating phase across the MIT temperature.

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