Dr. Jason D. Nicholas PhotoWelcome to the Nicholas Research Group at Michigan State University! We develop new functional materials, processing routes, characterization techniques, and high-performance devices to better understand and preserve the Earth. Presently we are focused on a) mechano-chemical coupling in electro-chemically active solids, b) high-temperature ceramic to metal seals, circuits, and current collectors c) nano-composite Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) electrodes, and d) strain-engineered thin films for geologic and technological applications. Some of our past accomplishments include development of the world’s most highly cited nano-composite Solid Oxide Cell (SOC) electrode model and publication of the world's most highly cited ceria sintering aid paper. In addition to this web site, you can learn more about our group on Google Scholar and ResearchGate. Thanks for your interest in our group!

Recent Group News

January 2023- At the 47th International Conference and Expo on Advanced Ceramics and Composites, Mr. Genzhi Hu will present an oral presentation on "Ag-Based Brazes with Built-In Aluminum Getters to Produce Dense, Strong, and Low-Resistance Electrical Contacts on Al2O3-Protected Stainless Steel." Prof. Nicholas will also deliver an invited oral presentation on "Pt Current Collectors Artificially Boosting Praseodymium Doped Ceria Oxygen Surface Exchange Coefficients" describing work performed with Nicholas group members Yuxi Ma and Ted Burye.

October 2022- Prof. Nicholas delivered a final report to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) on our "High-Performance Circuit Pastes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Applications" project at the 23rd Annual SOFC Project Review Meeting. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to produce nine peer-reviewed publications and demonstrate the viability of Ag-Ni circuits for a variety of high-temperature electronic and electrochemical device materials sets. Thanks for the three years of support, DOE!
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Citation Count Milestone
July 2022- Thank you to those who cited our work and helped us reach 1,000 Web of Science, Google, and/or Scopus journal citations for the first time!

ECS Logo
June 2022- Thank you to the ~250 people who participated in the two day Electrochemical Society Meeting Symposium on
Mechano-Electro-Chemical Coupling in Energy Related Materials and Devices 4. Lead organizer Nicola Perry and fellow Nicholas Group co-organizers Igor Lubromirsky, Yue Qi and Neil P. Dasgupta did a great job!

Nicholas Group PLD
May 2022- The Nicholas Group ordered its first Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) System from Surface Inc! This instrument will be central to our efforts to realize improved oxygen exchange catalysts for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells. In the future, we hope to add additional PLD chambers dedicated to Solid State Batteries and Thin Film Mineral Physics. The present instrument, which should be operational by Fall 2023, features a load lock, automated fluence control, raster laser scanning, and substrate deposition temperatures up to 1000oC.

ECS Logo
May 2022- Prof. Nicholas gave a contributed talk at on "Pt Current Collectors Artificially Boosting Si-Contaminated Praseodymium Doped Ceria Oxygen Surface Exchange Coefficients" at the 241st meeting of the Electrochemical Society in Vancouver, Canada.

UL Lafayette Seal
April 2022- Prof. Nicholas gave an invited colloquium to the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on "Interface Engineered Solid Fuel Cell Materials".

Rapid Thermal Cycling Furnace
February 2022- Our new 1700oC Rapid Thermal Cycling Furnace, capable of heating and cooling rates up to 50oC/min, was installed.

Materials Advances
January 2022- Our paper reporting similar elevated temperature thermo-mechanical property values for Praseodymium Doped Ceria thin films measured via multiple techniques was published in Materials Advances.
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Journal of Materials Chemistry A
November 2021- Our paper highlighting the potential pitfalls of using precious metal current collectors for oxygen surface exchange measurements was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.
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October 2021- Our paper quantifying how Si surface impurities alter the oxygen exchange coefficient of the oxygen exchange catalyst Praseodymium Doped Cerium Oxide was published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
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May 2021- Our work demonstrating how porous nickel layers can be used to promote the wetting, spreading, and adhesion of silver current collecting circuits on ceramic substrates was featured by MSU Today.
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Mars 2020 Perseverance Mission
April 2021- Congratulations to our friends at OxEon Energy, MIT, and NASA for mankind's first successful deployment of a Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell on another planet! Hopefully the media buzz surrounding this accomplishment will spur greater R&D funding that will allow us to reap benefits of widespread, cost-competitive SOC deployment here on Earth!

March 2021- Our paper arguing that it is time to update the notion that poor cathode performance typically limits the performance of State-of-the-Art SOFCs was published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
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February 2021- Our paper describing how dense, well-adhered circuits/current collectors can be produced by using pre-patterned porous nickel layers to direct the wetting and spreading of molten silver on ceramic substrates was published in Scripta Materialia. We also have an accompanying movie showing silver defying gravity as it melts and spreads into a pre-patterned porous nickel layer on sapphire.
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February 2021- Our paper showing how nano-ceria infiltrate particles improve the stability of the SOFC cathode material Lanthanum Strontium Iron Cobaltite by chemically gettering surface-segregated Sr was published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. This work also showed that, for yet to be determined reasons, the related SOFC cathode material Samarium Strontium Cobaltite does not age via a Sr surface-segregation mechanism, and hence is not made more stable through nano-ceria additions.
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...older group news