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Meet CUNY Undergraduate Researchers – Chathuranga De Silva

September 12, 2011

Improving the performance of Lithium Ion Batteries by particle surface modification

Chathuranga De Silva, a CCNY junior, has been a researcher in training for years. After graduating from a research-intensive high school in Sri Lanka, Chathuranga began CCNY’s Chemical Engineering program in the Fall of 2009. Eager to get back in a lab, he began to work with CCNY Professor of Chemistry Glen Kowach. For the last two years Chathuranga has been in his lab working on synthetic crystals.

C-SURP placed Chathuranga with CCNY Chemical Engineering Professor, Ilona Kretzschmar. He was assigned to a joint project between Dr. Kretzschmar and CCNY Chemical Engineering Professor, and CUNY Energy Institute member, Dan Steingart.

For 10 weeks over the summer, Chathuranga has been testing Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) printed batteries and working on methods to modify the surface of the LiCoO2 particles. Some methods of printing provide less resistance to electrical current than others, and it has been his task to test for the best printing and layering methods in order to improve the overall performance of the printed electrodes. This work is just the beginning of a much longer search for the best technique, and Chathuranga may be able to stick around to see it through. After the C-SURP program ended in the beginning of August, he was offered a position in Dr. Kretzschmar’s lab. Chathuranga knows that he wants to continue with chemical engineering, but he’s uncertain which area he wants to pursue in the future. “Right now,” he says, “my closest bet is to study energy and surface modification.”