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Translational technology for neuromotor disorders

    Spinal cord electrical neuromodulation is promising for restoring partial to complete loss of motor and other functions associated with neuromotor disorders. In this respect, I am developing miniaturized spinal cord neuroprosthetic devices that can be seamlessly implanted to the rodent's spinal cord with minimal invasiveness and chronic biocompatibility. Hindlimb locomotor-like motions with high efficacy and specificity can then be elicited by electrical stimuli delivered via the devices. The recording function for electrophysiological study can also be integrated to chronically interrogate the neural activities.

    The innovation in the spinal neuroprosthetic device not only has huge potential for fundamental studies on behavior-related perspective and the executive functions of the central nervous system, but also shows great promise as a translatable technology for treating neuromotor disorders in human. In the future, we are planning to further evaluate the technology in rodents, non-human primates, and ultimately apply it to human for the recovery of volunary hindlimb functions.

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Neural probes for interrogating the brain

     The capability to probe single-unit neural activities with chronic stability has profound impacts for neuroscience and neurology. It enables the acquisition of time-resolved information and might extensively expand our knowledge of brain plasticity and aging.

    Flexible electronics, or more specifically, macroporous mesh electronics, has recently been proven capable of tracking single-unit neural activities chronically. Departing from here, I am developing new implantation modalities and further elaborating the device design that can probe large-area and multi-region of mice central nervous system with minimal invasivesness. I am also engineering the electrical interface between the flexible electronics and the commercial integrated-circuit based recording units, which will facilitate the broad utilization of our groundbreaking flexible technology for fundamental neuroscience research and human healthcare.

Electrochemistry in batteries

    Pursuing high-energy battery technology requires in-depth understanding of the underlying failure mechanisms. In particular, the promising, but chemically unstable lithium metal chemistry has drawn broad attention in the fundamental aspect.

    In my study, I exploited advanced characterization techniques (cryo-EM, FIB, XPS, etc.), combining with the elctrochemical measurements, to study the interface and corrosion in lithium metal batteries. In a recent study, we quantitatively identified the galvanic corrosion and a Kirkendall-type phenomenon in the aging of lithium metal anode, which have long been overlooked but proven to be of great importance. The study advances our understanding on the failure mechanisms of Li metal chemistry, and will guide the materials development and interface engineering for viable lithium metal anode.

Materials Innovation for energy storage
    Lithium-ion battery has had a profound impact on our daily life, but the ever-growing demands on high-energy batteries for consumer electronics and automotive application call for a revolution in battery technology. Chemistries beyond Li-ion are currently being intensively investigated and Li metal chemistry is one of the most favoured choices.
    To solve the multifaceted problems employing Li metal anode, I tailored the materials, nanostructure, and interface of different components in batteries, namely anode, solid electrolyte, and separator. In particular, we pioneered the concept of stable host to accomodate the infinite relative volume change in Li metal anode, which has become a major strategy in the community. I also developed composite polymer electrolytes that simultaneously posesses superior mechanical properties and high ionic conductivity, and the first wet-process polymide separator as a safer alternative to the commercial polyolefin counterparts. The studies provide important insights to materials development for energy storage applications. 
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