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Braja K. Mandal

Braja K. Mandal, Ph.D.

Braja K. Mandal, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry






328 Robert A. Pritzker Science Center


B.S. University of Calcutta
Ph.D. Indian Institute of Technology

Research & Accomplishments 

Our research is focused on the following two energy storage technologies:

Li-S Batteries:  There has been a tremendous pressure on the scientific community to create a path for the smooth economic transformation of gasoline-powered vehicles to pure electric vehicles (EVs) in order to promote sustainable clean energy technology.  While the existing Li-ion technology serves adequately for mobile devices and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, it falls short of the desired specifications necessary for mass scale production of EVs (viz., driving range >350 miles per charge, cycle life near 5000 cycles, and at least 80% retention of the original capacity).  In the past decade, a number of battery technologies, beyond Li-ion batteries, have been assessed.  Among these, Li-S technology, enabled by nanotechnology, is now under serious consideration as a Li-ion replacement due to the potential it could provide 3-5 times more energy than that of current Li-ion technology at lower cost.  Our research team has been engaged in addressing key roadblocks of Li-S batteries by developing new anodes made of <50 nm sized silicon nanoparticles, new cathodes containing <30 nm sized sulfur nanoparticles, and novel polysulfide resistant fluoroether electrolytes.  Figure 1 shows a sample of our recent accomplishments in this area.


Figure 1.  SEM pictures of various stages to new cathode containing nano-sized sulfur particles for deep discharge.

Supercapacitors:  Supercapacitors have several advantages for energy storage when compared to batteries, such as high power density, excellent cycling stability, very fast charge-discharge capability, and safe operation.  However, the energy density of supercapacitors is much lower than that of batteries, preventing their widespread use in many potential applications where batteries are less suitable.  One such example is regenerative braking, which requires fast and reversible charge storage, as well as long-term cyclability.  There are two major energy storage mechanisms in supercapacitors: electrical double-layer capacitive (EDLC) storage and pseudocapacitive storage.  Our research group realizes that the development of hybrid supercapacitors (utilizing the advantages of both mechanisms) is essential to achieve high energy density.  We are specifically looking at single-layer graphene-based composite electrode materials with nano-sized highly pseudocapacitive transition metal oxides, which can be coupled high-voltage ionic liquid electrolytes.  If successful, this technology has potential to charge your cellphones in a few seconds as opposed to a few hours for current Li-ion battery-powered cellphones!  Figure 2 shows a sample of our recent accomplishments in this area.


Figure 2.  Schematic illustration for the synthesis of “Crumpled Graphene (CG)” as the base material for supercapacitor electrodes.

Students who are highly motivated and appreciate the necessity of good literature research, design a great research plan, and work hard until a significant improvement has been made are welcome to participate in these projects.

I have written a textbook that extensively covers how different types of polymers are synthesized.  This book (“Polymer Synthesis- strategies and tactics”, ISBN:  978-0-9841572-0-4) presents the most up-to-date developments in polymer chemistry with special emphasis on strategies and tactics to prepare monomers and polymers and to perform newly developed polymerization reactions.  The book is designed to accommodate the needs of both advanced undergraduate and graduate students who have a good background in organic chemistry, as well as a stand-alone handy polymer synthesis reference guide.  I have also published a science fiction book, which is available through Amazon and read through the Kindle app.  Further information, including preview of these books, can be obtained at the publisher’s website and Amazon, respectively.


Three-Step Synthetic Methodology to a New Family of Polylithium Salts for Lithium-ion Batteries, A. Chakrabarti, R. Filler. B. K. Mandal, ECS Transactions, 16 (29) 77-89 (2009).

Polyethylene Oxide-Based Gel Membrane Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries, Kan Luo, Robert Filler, Braja K. Mandal, ECS Transactions, 16 (29) 189-195 (2009).

Novel Zinc Phthalocyanine-Benzoquinone Rigid Dyad and Its Photoinduced Electron Transfer Properties By Lee, Chi-Hang; Guo, Jiangchang; Chen, Lin X.; Mandal, Braja. K. From Journal of Organic Chemistry (2008), 73(21), 8219-8227.

Highly amorphous solid polymer electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries By Luo, K.; Filler, R.; Mandal, B. K. ECS Transactions (2007), 6(14), 89-98.

New low temperature electrolytes with thermal runaway inhibition for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries By Mandal, Braja K.; Padhi, Akshaya K.; Shi, Zhong; Chakraborty, Sudipto; Filler, Robert From Journal of Power Sources (2006), 162(1), 690-695.

Self-assembled, nano-structured octaalkoxy-helicenocyanines By Mandal, Braja K.; Sooksimuang, Thanasat; Lee, Chi-Hang; Wang, Rong From Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (2006), 10(3), 140-146.

Excited State Dynamics and Structures of Functionalized Phthalocyanines. 1. Self-Regulated Assembly of Zinc Helicenocyanine By Chen, Lin X.; Shaw, George B.; Tiede, David M.; Zuo, Xiaobing; Zapol, Peter; Redfern, Paul C.; Curtiss, Larry A.; Sooksimuang, Thanasat; Mandal, Braja K. From Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2005), 109(35), 16598-16609.

New fluorine-containing plasticized low lattice energy lithium salt for plastic batteries By Mandal, Braja K.; Filler, Robert From Journal of Fluorine Chemistry (2005), 126(5), 845-848.

[5]helicene-fused phthalocyanine derivatives. New members of the phthalocyanine family By Sooksimuang Thanasat; Mandal Braja K., From The Journal of Organic Chemistry (2003), 68(2), 652-5.

First synthesis of 5[helicene] fused phthalocyanines: exceptional solubilities and long Q-band absorptions By Mandal, Braja K.; Sooksimuang, Thanasat From Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (2002), 6(1), 66-72.

A New Class of Aromatic Dianhydrides for Thermostable Polyimides By Walsh, Christopher J.; Mandal, Braja K. From Chemistry of Materials (2001), 13(8), 2472-2475.

A Novel Method for the Peripheral Modification of Phthalocyanines. Synthesis and Third-Order Nonlinear Optical Absorption of β-Tetrakis(2,3,4,5,6-pentaphenylbenzene) phthalocyanine By Walsh, Christopher J.; Mandal, Braja K. From Chemistry of Materials (2000), 12(2), 287-289.

New Class of Single-Ion-Conducting Solid Polymer Electrolytes Derived from Polyphenols By Mandal, Braja K.; Walsh, Christopher J.; Sooksimuang, Thanasat; Behroozi, Saeid J.; Kim, Sang-gu; Kim, Yong-Tae; Smotkin, Eugene S.; Filler, Robert; Castro, Cathy From Chemistry of Materials (2000), 12(1), 6-8.

Improved synthesis of unsymmetrical, heteroaromatic 1,2-diketones and the synthesis of carbazole ring substituted tetraaryl cyclopentadienones By Walsh, Christopher J.; Mandal, Braja K. From Journal of Organic Chemistry (1999), 64(16), 6102-6105.

Heteroaryl Substituted Polythiophenes: Chemical and Electrochemical Syntheses and Characterization of Poly[3-(9-tris(ethylene glycol) monomethyl ether)carbazoylthiophene] By Walsh, Christopher J.; Sooksimuang, Thanasat; Mandal, Braja K. From Macromolecules (1999), 32(7), 2397-2399.