Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
The next afternoon, the lithium battery MRS Conference report hall was packed with people.
Many people arrived here early and patiently waited for the report to begin.
Lu Zhou stood at the entrance of the lecture hall and as he looked at the crowd, he could not help but feel nervous.
He did not know why, but meeting Professor Sarrot yesterday ignited in him a sense of admiration.
Sarrot brought the incomplete project that cost millions here to this conference, for the sake of his researchers. That required courage.
In this game, your peers were your enemy.
Take the lithium-sulfur battery as an example. It seemed that the manganese dioxide nano-layer and polymer solid electrolyte were completely unrelated, but they both explained lithium-sulfur batteries.
In fact, everyones technology had downsides, and it was just a matter of how much.
Everyone wanted their own industry to adopt their solutions, to invest in their research, and to let their technology inventions thrive.
In the same way, although Lu Zhous thesis saved the lithium battery industry, he also destroyed many researchers jobs. A lot of people probably hated him.
As Lu Zhou stood on the podium and glanced across the audience, he was surprised to see that no one looked like they were out to get him.
At least no one in the front row looked like they were here to cause trouble.
Instead, their pairs of eyes were full of
Lu Zhou wondered if he was wrong. The report was about to begin.
Lu Zhou pumped himself up and walked to the podium. He plugged in his USB into the projector and signaled the staff members to bring out the three whiteboards.
Normally, a materials science report would not contain this much information, but his report was mathematically based.
Lu Zhou faced the quiet crowd and tested the microphone. He then spoke in a simple and concise manner, Ive made a fairly complete description of the properties and preparation methods of the modified polydimethylsiloxane film. I believe that most of you have read it before this report, so I wont go into details here.
Lu Zhou paused for a second before he then said, Compared to the production process of the PDMS film, I believe that you are more interested in how I discovered it.
Many people in the crowd nodded.
Not everyone here was lithium battery researchers or in the industry of lithium batteries, some of them were big names in organic materials.
For people in different fields, they were not interested in the PDMS material itself. Instead, they were more interested in how Lu Zhou discovered this material using mathematical modeling.
Lu Zhou did not waste time on his opening remarks. He went straight into the main course.
In the initial stages of deposition, lithium ions typically acquire electrons and deposit them on the current collector, which is considered to be a heterogeneous nucleation behavior. Because of this initial nucleation, the final lithium deposition pattern has a strong influence. So, my initial idea was to solve the problem of irregular growth of lithium dendrites by taking the initial stage of the nucleation stage as an entry point.
Using the SEM electron microscopy, I could see the root of the crystal nucleus in the electrolyte. We can see it as a spherical cap-shaped nucleus deposited on a flat substrate. It is like a three-dimensional spherical surface. We can set as the contact angle, r Is the radius of curvature, a is the radius of the contact surface, and is the surface tension
Some things could not be explained with words.
Lu Zhou picked up the marker and started writing on the whiteboard.
The whiteboard was slowly being filled with equations.
The marker danced on the whiteboard as it produced lines of equations.
The mathematical model was the skeleton of the research.
Although Lu Zhou did not memorize every step, he understood every detail so he was able to recite it easily.
The researchers in the crowd stared at the whiteboard intently. They were scared to miss a single detail.
However, fewer and fewer people were able to keep up with his rhythm.
Professor Kerr already could not keep up. He sighed and looked around with a worried look.
He noticed that Professor Bawendi from Massachusetts Institute of Technology was still staring at the whiteboard, so he could not help but ask.
Do you understand?
Professor Bawendi did not answer this immediately.
After some consideration, he gave his answer in a relaxed tone, Of course, its an interesting method.
Professor Bawendi was studying quantum dot technology, not just chemistry, so he was well versed in condensed matter physics.
Anyone with a physics background was naturally good at mathematics.
When Professor Kerr heard Bawendis evaluation, he looked helpless.
He did not understand most of what was on the whiteboard.
He was not clueless in mathematics, but he had never studied it deeply. After all, materials science was an experiment based subject, and most data was collected, not calculated.
However now people were telling him that computational materials science was not just an assisting tool in materials science, but it was the main tool. He started to have some doubts about his life.
Perhaps he should take some time and learn mathematics.
Time slowly passed by.
Lu Zhou was in the zone. It was like he was back at the Princeton classroom, like everyone in the crowd was his students, and they were listening to his lecture intently.
Lu Zhou responded to those who were seeking knowledge and he explained his thought process.
Lu Zhou wrote down the last line of equations and stopped writing.
He took two steps back and glanced at the whiteboard. He did not speak immediately.
The audience stared at Lu Zhous sturdy posture and stayed silent. It was like they feared to interrupt Lu Zhous thought process.
Five minutes passed
Lu Zhou finally turned around and placed the marker on the podium.
Thats the jist of it.
Next up is the Q&A session, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask them.
The crowd was still silent.
No one stood up, no one raised their hands, no one even coughed.
Even the most ruthless experts stayed silent, making people wonder if this was actually the MRS Autumn Conference.
The silence gradually ended.
Someone started to clap.
Clap clap clap
Then someone else clapped.
Soon the venue was filled with thunderous applause.
As Lu Zhou looked at the crowd, he was stunned.
He was surprised that no one asked any questions.
He felt a little weird.
Ill pretend they all understood it.
The American Materials Society will release a thick stack of theses related to the topic. If theyre interested, they can study it themselves.
Ive already finished what I have to do here.
Lu Zhou gestured to the staff member that the report was over.
He was about to unplug his USB when he suddenly remembered something.
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. The PowerPoint presentation has not finished yet.
Lu Zhou was so immersed in his calculations that he had almost forgotten what he was here for.
He pressed the button on the laser power and went to the next powerpoint slide.
There is not much else to say with regards to the modified PDMS film. In the past two and a half months, Ive done six experiments. Here are the macroscopic conditions inside the battery and the SEM image of the cross-section of the negative electrode material, after a Coulomb cycle of 1000 to 2000.
This experiment was not difficult to do, but it was time-consuming.
In order to completely remove the concerns of the industry, this experiment was a must.
The PowerPoint presentation was on the second to last slide when Lu Zhou paused for a second. He then said, Im sure that a lot of people are interested in this.
Indeed, many people were interested.
When the businessmen sitting in the back saw the 2000 Coulomb cycle images, their eyes went eyes wide opened.
This was because the images contained treasure. Treasure that they have yet to explore.
That was the future.
And right now, there was someone pointing them to the future