Research Scientist Joins The Coretec Group

By Nathanael Downes
Research Scientist, The Coretec Group

I joined The Coretec Group last month after graduating from the University of Michigan with a Ph.D. I’ve hit the ground running to help advance our scientific endeavors of synthesizing cyclohexasilane (CHS) using our patented method and developing a prototype lithium-ion battery with a silicon anode.

We believe our prototype lithium-ion battery with a silicon anode will address issues with cycling stability that other attempts at silicon anodes have failed to achieve. In fact, we filed a full utility patent last month that should enable significant advances in energy, power density, rapid charging, and cycling stability. This will have far-reaching applications including electric vehicles, mobile devices, and space exploration.

My training and experience are well-suited to this endeavor. I became well-acquainted with the chemistry of silanes and their reactivity during my graduate career, growing crystalline silicon thin films under ambient conditions. Accordingly, my skillsets are well-suited to begin optimizing cyclohexasilane (CHS) synthesis in our lab and exploring the creation of silicon-based anode active materials.

With the help of the whole team, we have nearly completed installment of a new wet laboratory, which is equipped with the necessary materials for handling pyrophorics. (Pyrophorics are materials that ignite upon exposure to oxygen.) We have outfitted the lab with a fully plumbed fume hood, a Schlenk line, an Mbraun Labmaster glovebox, glassware, and custom-made analytical materials.

The research space is in the same location as our corporate offices at the Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ) in Ann Arbor, ensuring efficiency in the synergistic efforts of the research and business ventures of the company.

MI-HQ is a co-operative campus housing 60-plus businesses in more than 160,000 square feet of wet labs, offices, and production areas. The MI-HQ campus – occupied by a variety of entrepreneurially spirited businesses – is an energizing and inspiring environment in its own right. Our location also puts us near the University of Michigan, providing us the benefit of access to advanced analytical tools, such as electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction equipment, as well as to highly qualified talent.

I’m truly excited to have joined in time to help set up the wet laboratory and, now that we’ve installed the new equipment, we’re excited to begin producing CHS and developing our prototype lithium-ion battery with a silicon anode.

My life’s goal is to help facilitate the transition away from a fossil-fuel dependent world and to create a more sustainable future. I believe the work I’m engaging in with The Coretec Group directly engages with my purpose. From commercializing a uniquely active silane deposition precursor to championing new innovations with high energy density battery materials, I’m thrilled to be making a better future for the world, today.

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