From an early age I was interested in science and mathematics; this interest was nurtured by my mother through the elementary and high school years. My college journey began at the Indian Institute of Technology, where I benefited immensely through interactions with highly intelligent peers and hardworking teachers. This education was followed by a year at a highly-respected engineering firm, which taught me to apply my textbook-based knowledge to practical situations. Graduate school followed, and through the support of fellowships and research grants I obtained an engineering doctorate. I am grateful to all those who guided, encouraged and provided financial support throughout those years.
After completing my doctorate, I started work at Argonne conducting research in the area of nuclear technology. Our task was to develop metallic waste forms to isolate and contain radioactive components from spent nuclear fuel. My tasks included the synthesis, characterization, and qualification of these alloys for ultimate disposal in a geologic repository. After several years conducting nuclear-related work, an opportunity arose in the then new lithium-ion battery research project, and I joined the team in 2001. Since then, I have been conducting research is in the field of energy-storage technologies, mainly lithium-ion batteries. One of our goals is to make batteries cheaper, safer, and longer-lasting for everyday devices and vehicles.
My natural curiosity about the real world, and the desire to explore and discover, have taken me on this journey through various avenues in science and engineering. The best part of being a research scientist is that I get to learn something new almost every day. And by sharing all that I have learned, and by teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers, I make a positive difference in the world.
Day-to-day Work At Argonne
Why Battery Science Matters
My colleagues and I at Argonne are developing battery-based technologies to store energy. These technologies are vital to the economic health of nations. Batteries are omnipresent in everyday electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers; size and weight reduction of these devices have been made possible by improvements in battery technology. Smaller and lighter batteries have also fueled interest in electric vehicles, which are under development to realize the vision of petroleum-free transportation. These novel vehicle propulsion technologies can reduce the consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels and contribute to a pollution-free environment. We are also working on energy storage technologies for electric utilities so that we may store the energy captured from the sun, wind, and waves, and use them as desired. We believe that some of these clean and green energy technologies will someday be used to illuminate even the darkest corners of the globe. Argonne and our partner institutions are working towards enhancing existing battery technologies to store energy. An important challenge is to increase battery lifespan because longer life lowers battery lifetime costs and increases its commercial viability. We are also developing novel methods to store energy; various opportunities abound to design, develop and test new materials in this exciting field of research.