Dr. Jason D. Nicholas PhotoWelcome to the Solid State Ionics Laboratory at Michigan State University! We develop new functional materials, processing routes, characterization techniques, and high-performance devices for energy-related applications. Presently we are focused on a) mechano-chemical coupling in electro-chemically active solids, b) high-temperature ceramic to metal seals, c) nano-composite Solid Oxide Fuel Cell electrodes, and d) strain-engineered thin film properties. Some of our past accomplishments include publication of the world's most highly cited "ceria sintering aid" paper,1 development of the world’s most highly cited nano-composite Solid Oxide Fuel Cell electrode model (the SIMPLE model),2-4 development of a new Ni-Ag stainless steel to ceramic brazing technique,5 and development of a new in situ, electrode-free bilayer curvature relaxation technique for measuring oxygen surface exchange coefficients as a function of simultaneously measured stress state.6 Please check our Publications, Google Scholar, or ResearchGate for information on our publications. Thanks for your interest in our group!

Recent Group News

June 2018- Dr. Jason Nicholas, Dr. Yue Qi, Dr. Thomas Bieler, Dr. Timothy Hogan and Dr. Hui-Chai Yu would like to thank the Department of Energy Solid Oxide Fuel Program for funding our new "High-Performance Circuit Pastes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Applications" proposal.
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May 2018- Our paper with Dr. Yue Qi and Dr. Brian Sheldon showing how charge disproportionation during oxygen vacancy formation determines the amount of chemical expansion, creates elastic dipoles, and produces local structural anisotropy in cubic cerium oxide was published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
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May 2018- Thank you to the ~350 people who participated in the three day Electrochemcial Society Symposium on
Mechano-Electro-Chemical Coupling in Energy Related Materials and Devices 3. Thanks also to symposium co-organizers Nicola Perry, Gery Stafford, Keiji Zhao and Ahmet Kusoglu!

Acta Mat
April 2018- Our paper with Dr. Yue Qi and Dr. Thomas Bieler identifying oxide braze additions or substrate coatings that facilitate silver wetting and adhesion on zirconia was published in Acta Materialia.
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PhD Program Advancement
March 2018- Congratulations to Yubo Zhang for passing his Comprehensive Exam!

Acta Mat
February 2018- Our paper with Dr. Thomas Bieler describing a new ceramic-to-metal joining technique utilizing transient porous nickel interlayers for improved silver-based Solid Oxide Fuel Cell brazes was published in Acta Materialia.
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Journal of Materials Chemistry A
December 2017- Our paper with Dr. Yue Qi describing how doping and d-orbital splitting interact to determine oxygen vacancy polaron size across the lanthanum ferrite - strontium ferrite solid solution was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.
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PhD Program Advancement
November 2017- Congratulations to Dr. Tridip Das for passing his PhD Defense. We wish him well at his new job at Intel!

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October 2017- Tridip Das, a student co-advised by Dr. Yue Qi and Dr Nicholas, gave an oral presentation at the 232nd Meeting of the Electrochemical Society in National Harbor, MD entitled "Predicting Oxygen Vacancy Polaron Size from D-Orbital Splitting in ABO3 (A=La, Sr; B=Mn, Fe, Co) Perovskites".

August 2017- The Nicholas Group and collaborators including Dr. Kevin Huang of the University of South Carolina and Dr. Shawn Ji of Atrex Energy received a new award from the Department of Energy Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program to conduct " Degradation and Performance Studies of ALD-Stabilized Nano-Composite SOFC Cathodes." Thanks, DOE. We appreciate the support!

July 2017- In conjunction with Dr. Yue Qi, Dr. Thomas Bieler, Tridip Das, Quan Zhou, and Rick Kerr, Prof. Nicholas presented two invited talks at the SOFC-XV conference in Hollywood, FL entitled "Reactive-Element Free, Silver-Based Brazes for SOFC Applications" and "First-Principles Studies of Oxygen Vacancy Interactions and Their Impact on Oxygen Migration in Lanthanum Strontium Ferrite". Quan Zhou and Yuxi Ma also gave posters on "Reactive-Element Free, Silver-Based Brazes for SOFC Applications" and "Using a Curvature Measurement Platform to Determine In-Situ Oxygen Surface Exchange Coefficients, Thermo-Chemical Expansion Coefficients and Elastic Constants of Oxide Thin Films", respectively.

PhD Program Advancement
July 2017- Prof. Nicholas was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor (and bought his first house).

July 2017- In collaboration with Prof. Susannah Dorfman and Mr. Yuxi Ma, PhD candidate Eric Straley and Prof. Nicholas presented posters at the COMPRES annual meeting in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico on the "Use of Ruby Thin Films as High Spatial Resolution Fluorescent Pressure Sensors" and "Thin-Film-Enabled, High Pressure Lab-on-A-Chip Technology for Mineral Physics Applications", respectively.

June 2017- Prof. Nicholas gave an invited talk at the 21st Solid State Ionics conference in Padua, Italy entitled "Use of a Non-Contact, In situ, and Electrode-Free Wafer Curvature Technique to "Simultaneously" Measure the Stresses, Oxygen Surface Exchange Coefficients, Elastic Constants, and Thermo-Chemical Expansion Coefficients of MIEC Thin Films"

ECM Book Cover
April 2017- Our invited book chapter on In Situ Wafer Curvature Relaxation Measurements to Determine Surface Exchange Coefficients and Thermo-Chemically Induced Stresses was published as part of Springer's book on the Electro-Chemo-Mechanics of Solids.
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...older group news

1. J. D. Nicholas, L. C. DeJonghe, Solid State Ionics, Prediction and Evaluation of Sintering Aids for Cerium Gadolinium Oxide v.178, p.1187 (2007).
2. J. D. Nicholas, S. A. Barnett, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Measurements and Modeling of Sm0.5Sr0.5CoO3–x–Ce0.9Gd0.1O1.95 SOFC Cathodes Produced Using Infiltrate Solution Additives v.157, p.B536 (2010).
3. J. D. Nicholas, L. Wang, A. V. Call, S. A. Barnett, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., Use of the Simple Infiltration Microstructure Polarization Loss Estimation (SIMPLE) Model to Predict the Measured Polarization Resistance of Infiltrated Nano-Composite Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathodes v.14, p.15379 (2012).
4. M. Shah, J. D. Nicholas, S. A. Barnett, Electrochemistry Communications, Prediction of Infiltrated Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathode Polarization Resistance using Simple Models v.11, p.2 (2009).
5. Q. Zhou, T. R. Bieler, J. D. Nicholas, Acta Materialia, Transient Porous Nickel Interlayers for Improved Silver-Based Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Brazes, v.148, p.156 (2018).
6. Q. Yang, T. J. Burye, R. R. Lunt, J. D. Nicholas, Solid State Ionics, In Situ Oxygen Surface Exchange Coefficient Measurements on Lanthanum Strontium Ferrite Thin Films via the Curvature Relaxation Method, v249-250, p.123-128 (2013).