Dr. Rui Qing

Research Scientist

Primary DLC

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (KIICR)

MIT Room: E15-381

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Self-Assembly Bio-Electronic Systems
Energy Storage and Conversions/Lithium Ion Batteries
Nanomaterials Synthesis and Fabrication
Surface Coating and Modifications

Research Summary

Dr. Qing’s current work aim to breach the boundary between electronic materials and bio-systems. He utilized self-assembly proteins to reproduce ordered crystalline structure on solid electronic surfaces. The supramolecular structure serves as the interface between small functional bio-molecules and electronic signal harvesters. Understanding their electrochemical responses helps to further progress nano-bio-electronic technology and synthetic biology.

With a materials science background, Dr. Qing is adept at nanomaterials design and synthesis, surface fabrication and modification as well as optimization for electrode materials in lithium ion battery systems. His works advanced the science and technology of materials for energy storage and conversion, novel nanomaterials for biomedical applications, coatings and material design for entomology applications, etc. Details of his research can be found in Research Projects section.

Dr. Qing has published many peer-reviewed papers, file several US patents and was invited to present in prestigious international conferences.

OTHER RESEARCH: with Principal Investigator Dr. Wolfgang Sigmund, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida

Nanomaterial Design and Optimization for Lithium Ion Batteries Electrodes -- Lithium ion batteries (LIB) drew significant attention for the past decades as the primarily energy storage units in portable electronics. However, they barely meet the ever increasing performance demands for recent applications such as electric vehicles (EV). The overall energy density of the battery is limited by the capacity of the cathode materials, while prolonged safe application of the LIB systems suffered from the performance of anode materials. Most commercial cathodes in EV, i.e. LiCoO2 and LiFePO4, exhibit electrode energy between 560 mWh/g to 600 mWh/g. which could deliver a battery between 150 mWh/g to 300 mWh/g when combining with carbon anode. This number is smaller when safer Li4Ti5O12 is used as carbon anode suffer from structure instability and rapid solid electrolyte interface (SEI) layer formation. To fulfill government’s standards of future EVs, energy density of the cathode material needs be enhanced and a safer anode is also required. Herein with our research, we were able to activate Ni2+/Ni3+ redox couple above 5.1 V within olivine type LiNixFe1-xPO4 solid solution materials by chemical delithiation. Combined with high voltage electrolyte this material can potentially increase the mainstream cathode capacity by as much as 40%. On the other hand, anatase TiO2 based anode materials with high structure stability for safe applications were fabricated. TiO2 and TiO2/CNT core-shell nanofibers were achieved using electrospinning technique. Interwoven morphology of fibers built a hollow framework which increases ternary interface of anode, electronic conductor and electrolyte. We obtained excellent specific capacity combined with good high rate performance and capacity retention. Enhancement in electrochemical performance was attributed to the increase of electronic conductivity and lithium diffusivity, as confirmed by our experiments. We further optimize the anode property by adding CNT additive and post hydrogen treatment.

Nanoparticle Synthesis and Characterization -- Due to its unique morphology and electronic structure associated to the scale, nanoparticles exhibited distinguishable properties compared to their bulk counterparts. Nanoparticles with well-defined structure and regulated band-structure prove to be essential for various applications ranging from their presence in delicate electronic devices, heterogeneous catalysts to bio-compatible enzyme alternatives. In our research we synthesized CexZr1-xO2 solid solution nanoparticles with narrow size distribution and controlled band gap. The as-prepared nanoparticles exhibited a unique bi-functionality both as photocatalyst (free radical generator) and a free radical scavenger. Free radicals are causes of many human diseases and our nanoparticle system could prove to be an effective and non-toxic treatment for biomedical applications.

Surface Design and Modification - Surface engineering is an important sub-discipline of materials science as it dealt with the interfaces between different matters. It has crucial applications in chemistry, semiconductor engineering, polymer engineering, etc. In our lab we designed and modified property of various solid surfaces according to their target applications. Main accomplishment included the modification of super-hydrophilicity of ANT (Anatase coated Carbon Nanotube) coating on glass slides, development of ceramic-sol gel hybrid surface coating with aligned solid pellets for decreased WVTR (water vapor transmission rate), preparation of super-hydrophobic plastron hairy surface and novel 3-D interwoven fiber structure for bedbugs trapping and control.

Recent Work