Professor Doron Aurbach

Bar Ilan University (BIU), Israel

Prof. Doron Aurbach wins the 2017 Allen J. Bard award in electrochemical sciences for developing high energy density lithium ion batteries, super capacitors and novel electro-analytical and spectro-electrochemical methods for sensitive electrochemical system.

The Bard award is the highest distinguish award in electrochemical sciences.

Short description: Established in 1955, Bar-Ilan University (BIU) is today Israel's largest university with a total undergraduate and graduate student enrollment of more than 34,000 at its main Ramat Gan campus and six regional colleges. With more than 1,600 senior and junior faculty members, BIU has achieved an international reputation for academic and research excellence, especially, but not limited to the fields of archaeology, bio-medicine, brain sciences, cancer, communications and information security, cognitive sciences, marine biology, magnetism and superconductivity, social sciences (with business administration), multilingualism, nanotechnology and advanced materials, and renewable energy.

Building on its successes in FP6 & FP7, BIU is committed to strengthening its research and innovation infrastructure for Horizon 2020. BIU supports this research initiative with 76 research centers and 66 academic chairs. Recently, BIU opened its medical school in the Galilee region whose research focus is translational and personal medicine -- applying targeted research to specific issues that arise in hospitals and clinics. With a commitment to expanding its research and innovation activities, and advanced studies, BIU places major emphasis on substantially increasing the number of research students, recruiting outstanding post-doctoral students, and increasing its research revenues. BIU has also developed unique interdisciplinary study programs, and has intensified collaborations and consortium building with scientists from the EU and the USA.

Prof' Aurbach's Lab enjoys collaboration with industry and other academic institutes across a wide range of disciplines. The lab takes an active role in the Israeli National program for oil alternative technologies. While targeting the automotive markets the immediate objective of the lab is the custom made market for high-end products where the lab has already gained a foothold. Penetrating this sector enables the lab to generate revenues, build credibility and to continue development of its core technologies to allow later access to the automotive market.

Key Personnel in TEPS program:

Prof Doron Aurbach is a full professor in the department of Chemistry, a senate member and the Director of the clean-tech center at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) at Bar Ilan university (BIU). He leads the electrochemistry group (>40 people), the biggest research group at BIU, one of the biggest in Israel and one of the biggest electrochemistry groups in the world. He chaired the department of chemistry during 2001-2005. Aurbach and his team study the electrochemistry of active metals and polar aprotic systems, the development of spectroscopic methods (in situ and ex situ) for sensitive electrochemical systems, the electrochemistry of modified electrodes, electrochemical intercalation processes. His group works on development of rechargeable high energy density batteries, sustainable electrochemical storage devices for load leveling and EDL capacitors. The research group under his leadership also works on electronically conducting polymers and activated carbon electrodes,   their engineering, characterization and applications. Aurbach’s group also studies water desalination by electrochemical means.

  1. Shalom Luski holds a PhD (in distinction) in chemistry, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has 25 years of experience in R&D activity both in academia and industry. The experience is in many areas but mainly in battery technology – primary and rechargeable technology. He is responsible for the development of products which are sold world-wide. Presently, he is working as a research leader in Prof. Aurbach's group in Bar Ilan University. Dr Luskis's background includes various positions including: ETV Energy - Leader of energy storage developing high voltage lithium ion technology; Printar - VP for consumables developing and manufacturing of ink jet inks; Power Paper - VP for Core Technologies developing and manufacturing thin and flexible screen printed power sources and enabling technologies related to medical electrodes and adhesives; Tadiran Batteries - project manager of lithium primary and lithium ion project. Dr. Luski holds numerous patents in his professional field.

Publications and international meetings:

Until mid 2014, Aurbach published more than 470 research articles in peer reviewed journals, 15 patents, 15 chapters in books and many hundreds of extended abstracts, related to presentations in international meetings. His papers were cited (mid 2014) > 17500 times and his H index at mid 2014 is 67. Most of the papers appeared in leading journals in the fields: electrochemistry, surface science, physical chemistry and materials science. As an example, during 2013 he published more than 30 papers. A similar number will be published during 2014. He delivered more than 200 key-note and invited lectures in international conferences throughout the world. Aurbach is the author of a fundamental book entitled Non-aqueous Electrochemistry (to which he wrote 4 chapters, about half of the book). The book appeared at the end of 1999 and it is still currently in the market. He is also one of the contributors to the Electrochemistry Dictionary (Springer 2008).

Prizes and awards:

Prof Aurbach was awarded the prestigious E.B. Yeager award of the International battery association (IBA) in 2014, given as recognition of unique carrier and contribution in the field of power sources research. Together with Prof. Yang-Kook Sun from Han-Yang university Seoul Korea, he was awarded a prestigious grant of the Korean government for collaboration between Korean scientists and foreign top scientists starting 2014. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious research award of the Electrochemical Society battery division and the Kolthoff prize in chemistry, of the Technion (Israel institute of technology). In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Israel Chemical Society (ICS) prize of excellence. He was also awarded Landau Prize for Green Chemistry (2011), the Edwards Company Prize of the Israel Vacuum Society (IVS) for research Excellence (2007) and the Technology Award of the Battery Division of the Electrochemical Society (2005). He is an ECS (2008), ISE (2010) and MRS fellow (2012)

National and international functions, teaching and educational activities:

Prof Aurbach serves as associate editors in 3 electrochemistry juornals: EES, JES (journals of the Electrochemical Society) and J. Solid State Electrochemistry (Springer). He also belongs to the advisory board of the prestigious journal “Nature Communication”. He serves as a director and a board member of the IMLB (the organization of the International meetings on Li batteries).

 He serves as the chairman of the Israel National Lab Accreditation authority (ISRAC), since 2010.  

He leads the Israel National Research center for Electrochemical Propulsion (INREP) which includes 14 research groups from 4 Israeli academic institutions ( Bar Ilan , Tel Aviv & Ariel universities and the Technion). Since he found the electrochemistry group at BIU 28 years ago, he educated 25 post-doctoral fellows, 35 graduate students which received  PhD degree and 45 students which received MSc degree under his supervision. He usually teaches the courses of physical chemistry, electrochemistry (basic and advanced) and lab training in advanced physical chemistry. He currently supervises 11 post-doctoral fellows, 13 PhD students and 8 MSc students.

Details about the research activity of Prof Aurbach:

The research of DA has focused on non-aqueous electrochemistry, spectro-electrochemistry, the science behind rechargeable batteries (Li, Mg), electronically conducting polymers, solid state electrochemistry, transport phenomena in solid electrochemical systems and across interfaces, intercalation electrochemistry, and solid state synthesis of ion insertion materials. It made a momentous contribution in each of these areas and to the understanding of the complicated surface chemistry of active metals in a variety of non-aqueous systems. DA was the first to introduce a number of spectroscopic and microscopic  tools (e.g. FTIR, Raman, AFM, STM) for the study of the complicated surface chemistry developed on active electrodes (Li, Li-C, Li-Si, Mg) in non-aqueous systems, including development of in-situ techniques. Intensive studies in these areas during the eighties and the ninties of the previous century made him one of the world leaders in the science behind advanced batteries. He invented the field of rechargeable magnesium batteries and is the world leader of the area of non-aqueous magnesium electrochemistry.

He is a world  leader in the development of novel spectro-electrochemical tools for the study of the most reactive electrochemical systems.

He has developed a critical mass of knowledge on the electrochemistry of activated carbon electrodes applicable towards water desalination by electrochemical means.

His research has led to  the following breakthroughs in the field of metal electrochemistry:

His group was the first to explore non-aqueous magnesium electrochemistry and to develop unique solutions of wide electrochemical windows in which Mg electrodes behave reversibly. His group invented infact a new solution chemistry to overcome the blocking of Mg electrodes in most common non-aqueous systems by formation of passivating surface films. The group also developed unique Mg intercalation compounds.

He was the first to introduce in-situ techniques to the field of active metal electrochemistry. These techniques included Raman and FTIR[1] spectroscopies, in-situ AFM and STM (e.g. for the study Li and Mg electrodes), and EQCM for Li, Mg and activated carbons electrochemistry.

His group led the study of the highly complicated surface chemistry of both active and inactive electrodes in the most important non-aqueous electrolyte solutions.

Content and impact of the major scientific or scholarly contributions:

Prof Aurbach has systematically studied the electrochemical behavior of a wide variety of non-aqueous electrochemical systems and deciphered the complicated anodic and cathodic reactions of each system. For the first time, his research on active metal electrodes Li, Mg, Ca, non-active metal electrodes and many different carbonaceous materials in non-aqueous systems, provided an integrated view of the complicated surface chemistry of all kinds of electrodes in non-aqueous electrolyte solutions.

His fundamental and revolutionary systematic studies of electrode reactions changed the understanding of the complex surface chemistry of active metals in non-aqueous systems. Their analysis, with the application of a wide variety of spectroscopic tools, explained the complicated passivation phenomena.

These contributions originated from a pioneering use of new methodologies, where each system was studied by diverse methods - electrochemical, spectroscopic, diffraction, microscopy - emphasizing in-situ techniques. This enabled to explain the correlations among electrochemical performance, surface chemistry, structure, and morphology. Aurbach’s group developed methodologies for properly reading complicated electrode impedance responses by the judicious use of several electro-analytical tools in a single study.

Aurbach invented new techniques for studying these complex systems: in-situ AFM, FTIR, Raman measurements of Li electrodes (i.e. simultaneous spectroscopic/microscopic and electrochemical studies); and was the first to apply in-situ FTIR and STM for Mg electrodes, and EQCM for studying active metal deposition processes, their reversibility and side reactions in the relevant electrolytes and complicated adsorption phenomena in activated carbons . He developed unique impedance spectroscopy of Li electrodes prepared fresh in solutions. These new methodologies provided new insight into the actual and authentic behavior of highly reactive electrochemical systems, resulting in new materials with uniquely tuneable properties. Among them, numerous electrochemical intercalations of metal ions into different types of inorganic hosts, creating new electrode materials.

He also demonstrated electrochemical sensors for explosives, very fast cathode materials for Li batteries based on nano particles of carbon coated vanadium oxide, 5V cathode materials for Li batteries, and highly stable behavior of cathodes for Li batteries which comprise nano-materials.

Aurbach’s group was the first to understand the surface chemistry of cathodes in Li batteries. The have studied electronically conducting polymers (some  of which they have developed) and carbon electrodes with adjustable porosity. They prepared highly selective porous carbon electrodes that could estimate the size of various ions in solution. They developed superb carbon electrodes for super capacitors, and discovered the unique reversible charge trapping upon insertion of ions into nano-porous structures in activated carbon electrodes. They were the first to successfully apply EQCM techniques for studying ion fluxes upon polarisation of porous carbon electrodes.

This group significantly contributed to novel nano-based electrode materials, unique electrostatic phenomena related to porous carbon electrodes, new carbonaceous materials for energy storage and conversion, electronically conducting and red-ox polymers for energy storage and conversion and the use of ionic liquids in power sources.

Aurbach’s group developed novel electrochemically based desalination processes and highly selective electrodes for water desalination. These developments have placed the group as a world leader in the field of CDI (capacitive de-ionization processes).

Collaborations , grants and practicl developments:

Aurbach’s group has a long term collaboration with the biggest chemical company in the world; BASF. The group belongs to a network of excellence that BASF has founded (prominent research groups from Germany, Canada, USA, Switzerland and Aurbach’s group in Israel). In the framework of this collaboration they develop practical Li-sulfur batteries, Li oxygen batteries and advanced Li ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Aurbach’s group had a long term collaboration with Merck KGaA Gernany (1997-2012) on development of new materials for Li ion batteries.

Aurbach’s group collaborated with Pellion Inc. USA , supported by BIRD (an Israel-US binational foundation) on development of rechargeable magnesium batteries.

Aurbach’s group collaborates with several Israely industries: Tadiran, ETV Enegy, Elbit, Vulcan, 3G solar, El-Mul and Phinergy on development of high energy density batteries (supported by 2 MAGNET programs of the Chief Scientist of Israel ministry of Economy).

Prof Aurbach is in charge of a budget of 45,000,000 NIS (for 5 years, started during 2012) of the Israel National Research center for Electrochemical Propulsion (INREP), provided by the Israel Sience Fundation (ISF) . In the framework of  this center, 14 Israeli research groups develop together power sources (rechargeable Li ion batteries, metal-air batteries, super capacitors and fuel cells) for electro-mobility.This group also developes practical systems for water desalination and purifications.

It is important to emphasize that Aurbach’s group developes in the BIU campus practical devices:

  1. Real high energy density rechargeable Li ion batteries (e.g. at a voltage of 9.2V and capacity of 3Ah).
  2. Reactors for water desalination and purification by electrochemical means.
  3. Together with the Israeli battery company Vulcan, the group developes new generations of lead-acid batteries.
  4. Together with Elbit the group developes practical super-capacitors. Both products can be used for load leveling applications (i.e. storage & conversion of sustainable energy).
  5. Aurbach’s group also demonstrated Li ion batteries for load leveling applications, based  on lithium-titanium-oxide anodes and  lithium manganese/iron phosphate cathodes. Part of this development was in collaboration with Dow Chemicals USA.

Infrastructure, equipment available:

The electrochemistry group led ny Doron Aurbach has ideal conditions to carry out the research described in this proposal. They possess and manage well equipped laboratories designed to work with the most sensitive electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques (including state of the art equipment for EQCM and EQCM measurements). This includes state of the art evacuable glove box systems, multi-channels computerized electrochemical analyzers, all kind of spectroscopic (FTIR, XPS, Raman) and HR microscopic tools and professional experts that operate them at the highest level. The center for nano-technology and advanced materials at BIU is well equipped with high resolution TEM & SEM unites, RBS and a battery of AFM-STM systems, ALD & PLD as unique synthetic tools and all kinds of equipment for nano-fabrication. The department of chemistry possesses a battery of state-of-the-art mass and multi-nuclei NMR and EPR spectrometers, operated by dedicated experts. We measure solid state NMR as well. We operate XRD and ICP systems. We have excellent machine-shop and electronic-shop. We have all needed tools for high level thermal analysis (DSC, ARC, TGA-GM). The group also benefits from excellent man-power, assisting and supporting systems at Bar Ilan university.   ETV which operates at BIU, has a full operating line for serial production of pouch cells (a wide variety of sizes and capacities). This includes full electrodes production and versatile modes of testing (including prolonged cycling at different temperatures)

A partial list of 5 selected publications during last year

  1. Sharabi, R.; Markevich, E.; Fridman, K.; Gershinsky, G.; Salitra, G.; Aurbach, D.; Semrau, G.; Schmidt, M.D.; Schall, N.; Bruenig, C.; Electrolyte solution for the improved cycling performance of LiCoPO4/C composite cathodes. Comm. 28, 20-23, (2013).
  1. Fridman, K.; Elazari,R.; Sharabi, R.; Gershinsky,G.; Markevich, E.; Salitra, G.; Aurbach, D.; Garsuch,A.; Lampert, J.; Schulz-Dobrick, M. A New Advanced Lithium Ion Battery: Combination of High Performance Amorphous Columnar Silicon Thin Film Anode, 5V LiNi5Mn1.5O4 Spinel Cathode and Fluoroethylene Carbonate-Based Electrolyte Solution. Electrochem. Comm. 33, 31-34 (2013).


  1. Amalraj, F.; Talianker, M.; Markovsky, B.; Burlaka, L.; Leifer, N.; Goobes, G.; Erikson, E.; Haik, O.; Grinblat, J.; Zinigrad, E.; Aurbach D.; Lampert, J.K.; Shin, J.Y.; Schulz-Dobrick, M.; Garsuch, A.; Studies of Li and Mn-Rich Lix[MnNiCo]O2 Electrodes: Electrochemical Performance, Structure and Effect of the Aluminum Fluoride Coating. Electrochem. Soc., 160, A2220-A2233 (2013).
  1. Markevich, E.;Salitra,G.;Arnd,G.;Schmidt, M.; Semrau, G.;Sharabi, R.;Friedman, K.;Aurbach, D.; Amorphous Columnar Silicon Anodes for Advanced High Voltage Li Ion Full Cells:Dominant factors Governing Cycling Performance. Electrochem. Soc.160,A1824-A1833 (2013).
  1. Yoo, HD.; Markevich, E.; Salitra, G.; Sharon, D.; Aurbach, D.; On the challenge of developing advanced technologies for electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Materials Today. 17, 110-121. (2014).
  2. Yariv, O.; Hirshberg, D.; Zinigrad, E.; Meitav, A.; Aurbach, D.; Jiang, M.; Powell, BR.; Carbon Negative Electrodes for Li-Ion Batteries: The Effect of Solutions and Temperatures. Electrochem. Soc. 161, A1422-A1431(2014).

[1] Abbreviations: FTIR-Fourier transformed infra red; AFM-atomic force microscopy; STM- scanning tunneling microscopy; EQCM- electrochemical quartz-crystal microbalance