Chemistry professor receives grant from Army Research Office

February 10, 2014

By Margaret Cipriano ‘15

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Luke Haverhals seems to have a special talent for grant writing.  His latest grant from the Army Research Office (ARO) for $40,000 is Dr. Haverhals’ third grant since August 2013.

In procuring this grant, Dr. Haverhals will purchase an infrared spectrometer, crucial to furthering research regarding the fundamental chemistries of electrolytes at electrode surfaces. 

The ultimate goal of Dr. Haverhals’ research is to create more efficient, powerful, and environmentally friendly electrochemical devices (for example, batteries) through exploring ionic liquids as alternatives to traditional electrolyte solutions. Dr. Haverhals and his team are studying ionic liquid-surface interactions by utilizing infrared light to analyze the geometry and ‘gymnastics’ of electrolyte solutions adjacent to electrode surfaces while simultaneously controlling the applied potential (at the electrode).

The ARO, constantly interested in discovering and funding new technologies, has given Dr. Haverhals the grant to procure the spectrometer which will enable experiments that probe dynamics which occur at much faster time scales than was previously possible at Bradley University.

“While the Army is interested in military relevant applications for this research, there is still a direct application to you and I as Joe Consumer as well,” said Dr. Haverhals. “The basic technology behind things like computers and the internet, was—one way or another—developed by the Department of Defense before finding their way into our everyday lives.”

Though Dr. Haverhals stated his research looks at the fundamental chemistry and physics of how the materials interact with each other, the end goal is that his work will contribute to better alternatives to, for example, lithium ion battery technologies presently utilized.