Kusoglu Lab Research

Our research theme is the structure-property characterization and modeling of ionomers and solid-polymer electrolytes to understand and improve their stability & functionality in electrochemical technologies - from the polymer-electrolyte and alkaline fuel cells to electrolyzers and flow batteries.

Our research approach involves data-driven design and understanding of ion-containing polymers (ionomers) and thin films at electrode interfaces, including interrogation of their transport functionality and mechanical stability as well as morphological characterization through state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray techniques at the Advanced Light Source (ALS).

Research projects and activities:

  • Structure-Function relationships of ionic polymers for energy conversion devices

    • Understanding transport-stability correlations in anion- and cation-exchange membranes
    • Development of characterization techniques for morphology, transport function and mechanical deformation of functional polymers (with the ALS)
    • Investigation of hybrid ionomers and composite structures for multi-functional separators and bipolar membranes
    • Data-driven analysis of membrane structure-functionality and tailored design for energy technologies 


  • Material Design, Development, Durability and Diagnostics

    • Exploration of membrane chemistries for improved transport or durability
    • Enhancing membrane durability to monitor and mitigate chemical-mechanical degradation
    • Elucidating ionomer thin-film behavior to improve electrode performance and cell efficiency 
    • Characterization of solid polymer-electrolyte membranes and interfaces for clean energy
      • Hydrogen fuel cells, low-temperature PEM fuel cells (via M2FCT consortium)
      • Water-splitting electrolyzers (see our capabilities as part of HydroGen and H2NEW)
      • Direct Carbon Capture and CO2-reduction devices
      • All-solid-state batteries 
      • Redox Flow Batteries
  • Electrochemical-Mechanical Phenomena

    • Understanding and mitigation of chemical-mechanical failure in solid-polymer electrolytes and interfaces
    • Fundamentals of structure-transport-deformation relationships in adaptive, functional polymers
    • Mechanochemistry in ion-containing soft matter and hybrid separators
    • Mechanical modeling of membrane-electrode assemblies and interfaces for simulating operational stresses, failure analysis and lifetime assessment 
  • Projects on Clean Energy and Hydrogen Technologies

    • Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck (M2FCT): PEM Fuel Cells
    • H2NEW: PEM Electrolysis
    • HydroGen: PEM and AEM Electrolysis (see our capabilities)
    • CIWE: (EERC) Center for Ionomer-based Water Electrolysis 
    • CalTesBed: Assist technical evaluation of materials for clean energy technologies 


Check our current openings and learn more about the opportunities to work with us!


Highlights: Materials Research

Spotlight: Clean Energy Applications

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