SCSAM Fellow Spotlight: Brian Gu
A self-proclaimed “car enthusiast” since childhood, Brian Gu knew early on that he wanted a career in mechanical engineering. Inspired by the possibility of electric cars in the future, he became interested in researching Li-ion batteries shortly after starting his M.S./Ph.D. studies at Case Western Reserve University.
Much of Gu’s research at CWRU has focused on surface roughness of the current collector in Li-ion batteries. Now, as a Summer 2022 SCSAM Fellow, he has been using SCSAM's atomic force microscope to quantify the surface roughness of his samples with different modifications.
To characterize the composite electrolyte for Li-ion batteries in his M.S. thesis, Gu has used SCSAM's x-ray diffractometer and scanning electron microscopes in the past. However, this project is the most in-depth research he has done in SCSAM. “Learning how to operate the machine is the most interesting aspect of the fellowship,” said Gu. “After the two training sessions, I have to (operate the microscope) by myself. This is the most interesting and challenging part since some problems didn’t happen in the training sessions.” He has also enjoyed the hands-on aspect of his work.
"I have enjoyed working with Brian at SCSAM and training him on the AFM as part of his fellowship,” said SCSAM engineer Nichole Hoven. “Seeing him recognize how this technique can provide additional information for his research is a great experience!"
In the future, Gu hopes to continue to study samples on the atomic force microscope. “This project helped me learn more principles on the machine and the testing method.” Two of his long-term goals as an engineer are to “improve current Li ion battery manufacturing in terms of reducing costs, as well as improving sustainability without damaging the battery performance.”