Dr. Ted Yu
Ted first got involved in alternative energy research at UCLA, where he worked on battery materials. This continued with his Masterís degree, where he worked on a thesis project at the Lawrence Berkeley Labís electrochemistry group on a relatively unknown battery system that uses lithium and sulfur. After writing his thesis and a highly cited paper, he went on to work for a battery manufacturing company. He returned to CSULB to obtain a degree in chemical engineering. After a few more years in the industry, he decided to return to school for a PhD at Caltech with Bill Goddard, focusing on computational modeling of materials. During his time at Caltech, he published ten papers on batteries and fuel cells. His papers focused on atomic level simulations, developing ways to improve electrochemical systems. After Caltech, he worked for a few years at UCLA as a postdoc, focusing on computational simulations of solar cells at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM).
Tedís research involves both computational and experimental research. The type of computational research he works on looks closely at the chemical processes at the atomic level. This helps determine the mechanisms that govern the performance of electrochemical systems, which sometimes are too difficult to do with experiments. Once a good model is established, computational research can be used to screen thousands of materials quickly, making it easier to determine which materials are the best candidates for further development. In addition to modeling, his work involves building rechargeable lithium batteries, applying the knowledge gained from computer simulations. Experimental battery research involves synthesis of battery materials, assembly of the cells, testing the cells on a battery tester, and detailed materials analysis.
We live in exciting times, where gasoline powered engines are slowly being replaced by more efficient and less polluting alternative energy vehicles. These include hybrid powered, all-electric, solar and fuel cell vehicles. Electrochemical Engineering sits at the forefront of these new developments. New ideas appear everyday to push these systems beyond their current state.Professor Yu and his group teaching high school/junior high students how to build lemon powered batteries during Women at the BEACH. (Pictured: Carlos Bautista, Anh Le, Mac Cruz, Kevin Le, Lina Hijazi)