Javier Bareño began his research at Argonne in June 2009 as a postdoctoral researcher. Today he is an Assistant Materials Scientist working in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division.
Javier holds a bachelor’s of science in Applied Physics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). His Ph.D. research dealt with texture development and surface structure of thin films, especially hard coatings.
When Javier graduated from UIUC he worked as postdoc in Sweden. During that time he was working on a small research side project with Materials Scientist Daniel Abraham (CSE) that consisted of understanding the crystal structure, and structure evolution, in lithium-ion cathodes. After a year Abraham contacted Javier and offered to develop his side project into full-time research work at Argonne.
When he arrived at Argonne Javier was directed to focus on his research and his career search. His postdoctoral work at Argonne was a departure from his previous research. “I did not have an energy storage background before my postdoc, this gave me the opportunity to transition into a completely different field,” notes Javier. He found the transition favorable because of the wide variety of research backgrounds and openness of his colleagues.
His mentor Daniel Abraham provided the support and guidance to point him in the right direction to make the learning process smooth. He was also given the opportunity to try out new approaches and develop new tools. Abraham provided him the forum to give several presentations on his research so he could gain experience and exposure.
“You need to meet your deadlines and accomplish your goals, but you cannot hide in your lab and become a hermit,” says Javier. He was encouraged to speak with his colleagues, exchange ideas and to learn as much as he could.
Today, Javier spends his research time in the post-test characterization laboratory where he is applying different characterization techniques such as microscopy, spectroscopy and chromatography to component samples harvested from lithium-ion, and other batteries, after testing. Javier does this inside an inert glove box to preserve the chemistry of the aged components. The box is filled with high purity argon gas to prevent water or oxygen from reacting with and degrading the special battery materials. The information he gathers will determine the physicochemical processes underlying performance degradation, and eventual failure, of new electrochemical energy storage technologies.
Javier’s responsibilities and roles at Argonne have greatly expanded over the years. As lead researcher in the Argonne Energy Surface Science Laboratory he is constantly learning something new each day. His role allows him to cover the full spectrum of approaches in the battery field.