Sung-Jin Cho, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the North Carolina A&T Department of Nanoengineering

Safer, Lighter, Longer Lasting: A&T Researcher Hones In On Better Batteries for Electric Vehicles

GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 8, 2018) – The explosion in the popularity of electric vehicles (EV) in recent years has been tempered by the nagging challenges of the batteries that power them. Current models are heavy, adding significant weight to the vehicles, and don’t allow for driving very far on a single charge.

A faculty member at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is tackling those challenges, however, with work that is drawing interest and earning support from the auto manufacturing industry. Sung-Jin Cho, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the North Carolina A&T Department of Nanoengineering, is developing a new generation of solid-state lithium batteries that will enable EVs to basically do more with less.

Cho’s work focuses on two specific areas: high-performance, hetero-structured cathode material and the fundamental study of rotating molecules for polymer electrolytes.

Cho and his team pursue their work in a state-of-the-art battery laboratory at the Joint School of Nanoscience, an academic collaboration between North Carolina A&T and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Cho’s testing environment rivals what automakers have at their own facilities, which potentially shortens the path from laboratory to marketplace.

Cho’s focus on nano-architected energy storage encompasses a wide variety of applications. In addition to its potential use for the EV industry, an apparel manufacturer has tasked Cho’s team with pioneering advanced flexible, wearable, high-energy lithium batteries that can be integrated into garments.

Cho’s research also supports BioSolar, Inc., which is developing a breakthrough technology to double the storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries. The company funds Cho’s research, and currently licenses one of his inventions for nano material based super-cathode technology.

Cho, who holds a Ph.D. in Material Engineering from Marquette University, is involved in research for the Air Force and other government agencies, as well.

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is housed in a state-of-the- art, 105,000 square-foot facility that features extensive labs and clean rooms. Faculty and students have access to a sophisticated suite of tools designed to develop leading-edge applications in the hottest emerging technologies. The JSNN is located in Gateway University Research Park, which provides an environment conducive to commercialization of university-developed intellectual properties and a space where industry/academic collaborations occur.