2020 Frank J. Padden Jr. Award Recipient

Nicole Michenfelder-Schauser

Nicole Michenfelder-Schauser
University of California, Berkeley

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Nicole received her B.S. in Materials Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015, where she pursued undergraduate research under Professor Nitash Balsara. She is now pursuing her PhD under Professors Rachel Segalman and Ram Seshadri at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on exploring holistic approaches towards the design of next generation polymer electrolytes.

Nicole presented her work, titled “Decoupling Mechanics from Ion Transport in Polymers,” exploring the effect of metal cation identity on mechanics and conductivity in polymers based on metal-ligand coordination. These metal-ligand coordinating polymers show dramatic tunability in their bulk mechanical properties without a detrimental effect on their ionic conductivity performance. Importantly, pulsed-field-gradient NMR measurements confirmed that divalent cations can indeed contribute to the conductivity in these systems. Lastly, careful design of the polymer and functional group chemistry significantly improves both total conductivity and the cation contribution to conductivity, which is important for many applications. The design rules identified in this study can aid in the development of higher performance mono- and multi-valent polymer ion conductors.