The Sakamoto group studies materials and manufacturing processes to develop new energy storage and biomedical technologies. We take a holistic approach to research entailing materials design and discovery, articulation into prototypes, and testing in relevant environments. While the connection between these seemingly disparate fields may not be obvious, they do share one aspect; nothing, or, more specifically, the absence of mass.
Energy storage technology: solid-state batteries
In the context of advanced solid-state batteries, the absence of mass is manifested in the form of atomic vacancies. Our recent work demonstrates the deliberate and controlled creation of Li-ion vacancies, in garnet-based crystal structures, is key in demonstrating fast-ion conductivity at room temperature. This ceramic material conducts ions as fast as state-of-the-art liquid Li-ion electrolyte membranes, perhaps enabling advanced solid-state batteries (Figure).
Biomedical technology: therapies for nerve repair
After traumatic injury, the nervous system is not capable of spontaneous repair. Once severed, electronic impulse carrying axons require interventional technology to recapitulate native nerve tracts. In the context of nerve repair technology, the absence of mass is manifested in the form of macroscopic open linear channels to guide nerves and nano-dimensional pores to deliver nerve growth factors to stimulate growth (Figure).