George Crabtree

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George Crabtree
George Crabtree in his office.jpg
Crabtree in 2013
George William Crabtree

(1944-11-28) November 28, 1944 (age 76)
Academic background

George William Crabtree (born November 28, 1944) is an American physicist known for his highly cited research on superconducting materials and energy-related matters and, since 2012, for his directorship of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research.

Early life and education[edit]

George Crabtree was born on November 28, 1944, in Little Rock, Arkansas, and moved with his family to Hillside, Illinois, at age 2. His father was a mechanical engineer for International Harvester, and his mother was a homemaker and community service volunteer.

Crabtree attended Proviso West High School in Hillside, Illinois, followed by Northwestern University, where he received a B.S. in science engineering in 1967. For graduate school, he first attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where he received an M.S. in physics in 1968, then the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he attained his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics in 1974.

Career and research[edit]

Crabtree is currently Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) at Argonne National Laboratory, and Director of the UIC Energy Initiative and Distinguished Professor of Physics, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Most of Crabtree’s long scientific career has been spent at Argonne National Laboratory, which he joined as an undergraduate in 1964 then staff assistant in 1969 and then, upon receiving his Ph.D., was promoted to assistant physicist in the Materials Science Division in 1974. He was appointed an Argonne Distinguished Fellow in 1990.  Subsequently, he assumed managerial roles for the Materials Science Division, where he served as Associate Director from 1993 to 2001, Director from 2001 to 2008, and then Associate Director again from 2008 to 2012.

In addition to his work at Argonne, Crabtree was a professor of physics at Northern Illinois University from 1990 to 2003 and has been a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2010.


During his time in the Materials Science Division, Crabtree’s central research focus was the electromagnetic properties of superconducting materials, in particular, their behavior in high magnetic fields. These fields are dominated by the presence and behavior of vortices, whirlpools of electrons circulating around tubes of magnetic flux. These vortices are of considerable practical significance since their statics and dynamics determine the maximum current that a given superconductor can carry without electrical resistance. Especially notable among Crabtree’s publications on the topic are his studies of a new state of vortex matter, the vortex liquid, that appears only in high-temperature superconductors.[1] Crabtree was an early pioneer of research in high-temperature superconducting materials,[2] first discovered in 1986, including studies of their crystal structures, thermodynamic properties, behavior in magnetic fields, and maximum resistance-less current.

In a wide-ranging research career, Crabtree has published more than 440 scientific papers on such topics as next-generation battery materials, sustainable energy, energy policy, materials science, nanoscale superconductors and magnets, and highly correlated electrons in metals. T His most highly cited papers treat the hydrogen economy,[3] solar energy,[4] and high-temperature superconductivity.[2][5]

Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR)[edit]

In 2012, Crabtree was appointed the Director of Argonne's newly formed Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). Under his leadership, the center's researchers have reported advances in four types of next-generation batteries beyond current lithium-ion technology:

In 2018, Crabtree’s Scientific and Operational Leadership team in JCESR received the Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award from the Department of Energy for “changing the formula for developing next-generation batteries.”

Awards and recognition[edit]

Crabtree is a Fellow of the American Physical Society,[30] a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences,[31] and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[32] In 2003, Crabtree was awarded the Kamerlingh Onnes Award (granted once every three years) for his experimental research with others on vortices in high-temperature superconductors. Crabtree has received the University of Chicago Award for Distinguished Performance at Argonne twice, and the Department of Energy’s Award for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Solid State Physics four times. He received an R&D 100 Award for his pioneering development of a Magnetic Flux Imaging System. He is also a charter member of ISI’s Highly Cited Researchers in Physics.


  1. ^ Welp, U.; Fendrich, J.A.; Kwok, W.K.; Crabtree, G.W.; Veal, B.W. (1995). Thermodynamic evidence for a flux line lattice melting transition in YBa2Cu3O7−δ. Physical Review Letters 76 (25): 4808-4812 (1995).  DOI:
  2. ^ a b Kwok, W. K.; Fleshler, S.; Welp, U.; Vinokur, V. M.; Downey, J.; Crabtree, G. W.; Miller, M. M. (1992-12-07). "Vortex lattice melting in untwinned and twinned single crystals ofYBa2Cu3O7−δ". Physical Review Letters. 69 (23): 3370–3373. Bibcode:1992PhRvL..69.3370K. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.69.3370. ISSN 0031-9007. PMID 10046801.
  3. ^ Crabtree, George (Winter 2004). "The Hydrogen Economy". Physics Today. 57 (12): 39–44. Bibcode:2004PhT....57l..39C. doi:10.1063/1.1878333. S2CID 28286456.
  4. ^ Crabtree, George (March 1, 2007). "Solar energy conversion". Physics Today. 60 (3): 37–42. Bibcode:2007PhT....60c..37C. doi:10.1063/1.2718755.
  5. ^ Crabtree, George (April 1, 1997). "Vortex Physics in High‐Temperature Superconductors". Physics Today. 50 (4): 38–45. Bibcode:1997PhT....50d..38C. doi:10.1063/1.881715.
  6. ^ Canepa, Pieremanuele; Sai Gautam, Gopalakrishnan; Hannah, Daniel C.; Malik, Rahul; Liu, Miao; Gallagher, Kevin G.; Persson, Kristin A.; Ceder, Gerbrand (2017-03-08). "Odyssey of Multivalent Cathode Materials: Open Questions and Future Challenges". Chemical Reviews. 117 (5): 4287–4341. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00614. ISSN 0009-2665. PMID 28269988.
  7. ^ Sa, Niya; Kinnibrugh, T.; Wang, Hao; Gopalakrishnan, Sai Gatum; Chapman, Karena; Vaughey, John; Key, Baris; Fister, T.; Freeland, John; Proffit, Danielle; Chupas, Peter; Ceder, Gerbrand; Bloom, I.; Burrell, Anthony (2016). "Structural Evolution of Reversible Mg Insertion into a Bilayer Structure of V2O5·nH2O Xerogel Material". Chemistry of Materials. 28 (9): 2962–2969. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b00026.
  8. ^ Persson, Kristin A.; Ceder, Gerbrand; Malik, Rahul; Canepa, Pieremanuele; Qu, Xiaohui; Rong, Ziqin; Jain, Anubhav; Liu, Miao (2016-10-05). "Evaluation of sulfur spinel compounds for multivalent battery cathode applications". Energy & Environmental Science. 9 (10): 3201–3209. doi:10.1039/C6EE01731B. ISSN 1754-5706.
  9. ^ Rong, Ziqin; Malik, Rahul; Canepa, Pieremanuele; Sai Gautam, Gopalakrishnan; Liu, Miao; Jain, Anubhav; Persson, Kristin; Ceder, Gerbrand (2015-09-08). "Materials Design Rules for Multivalent Ion Mobility in Intercalation Structures". Chemistry of Materials. 27 (17): 6016–6021. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b02342. ISSN 0897-4756.
  10. ^ Persson, Kristin A.; Ceder, Gerbrand; Jain, Anubhav; Canepa, Pieremanuele; Malik, Rahul; Rong, Ziqin; Liu, Miao (2015-03-05). "Spinel compounds as multivalent battery cathodes: a systematic evaluation based on ab initio calculations" (PDF). Energy & Environmental Science. 8 (3): 964–974. doi:10.1039/C4EE03389B. ISSN 1754-5706.
  11. ^ Nazar, Linda F.; Ceder, Gerbrand; Persson, Kristin A.; Rong, Ziqin; Liu, Miao; Duffort, Victor; Bonnick, Patrick; Sun, Xiaoqi (2016-07-06). "A high capacity thiospinel cathode for Mg batteries". Energy & Environmental Science. 9 (7): 2273–2277. doi:10.1039/C6EE00724D. ISSN 1754-5706.
  12. ^ Lipson, Albert L.; Pan, Baofei; Lapidus, Saul H.; Liao, Chen; Vaughey, John T.; Ingram, Brian J. (2015-12-07). "Rechargeable Ca-Ion Batteries: A New Energy Storage System". Chemistry of Materials. 27 (24): 8442–8447. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b04027. OSTI 1391846.
  13. ^ Senguttuvan, Premkumar; Han, Sang-Don; Kim, Soojeong; Lipson, Albert L.; Tepavcevic, Sanja; Fister, Timothy T.; Bloom, Ira D.; Burrell, Anthony K.; Johnson, Christopher S. (2016). "A High Power Rechargeable Nonaqueous Multivalent Zn/V2O5 Battery". Advanced Energy Materials. 6 (24): 1600826. doi:10.1002/aenm.201600826. ISSN 1614-6840.
  14. ^ Canepa, Pieremanuele; Li, Juchuan; Wang, Yan; Tian, Yaosen; Shi, Tan; Richards, William D.; Key, Baris; Gautam, Gopalakrishnan Sai; Bo, Shou-Hang; Ceder, Gerbrand (2017-11-24). "High magnesium mobility in ternary spinel chalcogenides". Nature Communications. 8 (1): 1759. Bibcode:2017NatCo...8.1759C. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01772-1. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5700915. PMID 29170372.
  15. ^ Proffit, Danielle; Fister, Timothy; Kim, Soonjeong; Pan, Baofei; Liao, Chen; Vaughey, John (2016). "Utilization of Ca K-Edge X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure to Identify Intercalation in Potential Multivalent Battery Materials". Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 163 (13): A2508–A2514. doi:10.1149/2.0121613jes.
  16. ^ Ceder, Gerbrand; Persson, Kristin A.; Scullin, William; Hannah, Daniel C.; Huang, Wenxuan; Liu, Miao; Xiao, Penghao; Rong, Ziqin (2017-07-13). "Fast Mg2+ diffusion in Mo3(PO4)3O for Mg batteries". Chemical Communications. 53 (57): 7998–8001. doi:10.1039/C7CC02903A. ISSN 1364-548X. PMID 28664208.
  17. ^ Brushett, Fikile; Vaughey, John; Jansen, Andrew (2012). "An All‐Organic Non‐aqueous Lithium‐Ion Redox Flow Battery". Advanced Functional Materials. 2 (11): 1390–1396. doi:10.1002/aenm.201200322.
  18. ^ Montoto, Elena C.; Nagarjuna, Gavvalapalli; Hui, Jingshu; Burgess, Mark; Sekerak, Nina M.; Hernández-Burgos, Kenneth; Wei, Teng-Sing; Kneer, Marissa; Grolman, Joshua (2016-09-29). "Redox Active Colloids as Discrete Energy Storage Carriers". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 138 (40): 13230–13237. doi:10.1021/jacs.6b06365. PMID 27629363.
  19. ^ Burgess, Mark; Moore, Jeffrey S.; Rodríguez-López, Joaquín (2016-09-27). "Redox Active Polymers as Soluble Nanomaterials for Energy Storage". Accounts of Chemical Research. 49 (11): 2649–2657. doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.6b00341. PMID 27673336.
  20. ^ Rodriquez-Lopez, J. (June 6, 2017). "Interrogating charge storage on redox active colloids via combined Raman spectroscopy and scanning electrochemical microscopy". Langmuir. 33 (37): 9455–9463. doi:10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01121. PMID 28621544.
  21. ^ Iyer, Vinay A.; Schuh, Jonathon K.; Montoto, Elena C.; Pavan Nemani, V.; Qian, Shaoyi; Nagarjuna, Gavvalapalli; Rodríguez-López, Joaquín; Ewoldt, Randy H.; Smith, Kyle C. (2017-09-01). "Assessing the impact of electrolyte conductivity and viscosity on the reactor cost and pressure drop of redox-active polymer flow batteries". Journal of Power Sources. 361: 334–344. Bibcode:2017JPS...361..334I. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2017.06.052. ISSN 0378-7753.
  22. ^ Rodríguez-López, J. (June 3, 2017). "Redox Active Polymers for Non-Aqueous Redox Flow Batteries: Validation of the Size-Exclusion Approach". Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 164 (7): A1688–A1694. doi:10.1149/2.1511707jes.
  23. ^ Rodríguez-López, Joaquín; Moore, Jeffrey S.; Nagarjuna, Gavvalapalli; Montoto, Elena C. (2017-01-01). "Redox Active Polymers for Non-Aqueous Redox Flow Batteries: Validation of the Size-Exclusion Approach". Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 164 (7): A1688–A1694. doi:10.1149/2.1511707jes. ISSN 1945-7111.
  24. ^ Cheng, Lei; Curtiss, Larry A.; Zavadil, Kevin R.; Gewirth, Andrew A.; Shao, Yuyan; Gallagher, Kevin G. (2016-08-10). "Sparingly Solvating Electrolytes for High Energy Density Lithium–Sulfur Batteries". ACS Energy Letters. 1 (3): 503–509. doi:10.1021/acsenergylett.6b00194. OSTI 1339571.
  25. ^ Lee, Chang-Wook; Pang, Quan; Ha, Seungbum; Cheng, Lei; Han, Sang-Don; Zavadil, Kevin R.; Gallagher, Kevin G.; Nazar, Linda F.; Balasubramanian, Mahalingam (2017-06-28). "Directing the Lithium–Sulfur Reaction Pathway via Sparingly Solvating Electrolytes for High Energy Density Batteries". ACS Central Science. 3 (6): 605–613. doi:10.1021/acscentsci.7b00123. ISSN 2374-7943. PMC 5492412. PMID 28691072.
  26. ^ Wang, Hao; Sa, Niya; He, Meinan; Liang, Xiao; Nazar, Linda F.; Balasubramanian, Mahalingam; Gallagher, Kevin G.; Key, Baris (2017-03-15). "In Situ NMR Observation of the Temporal Speciation of Lithium Sulfur Batteries during Electrochemical Cycling". The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 121 (11): 6011–6017. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b01922. OSTI 1392950.
  27. ^ See, Kimberly A.; Wu, Heng-Liang; Lau, Kah Chun; Shin, Minjeong; Cheng, Lei; Balasubramanian, Mahalingam; Gallagher, Kevin G.; Curtiss, Larry A.; Gewirth, Andrew A. (2016-12-08). "Effect of Hydrofluoroether Cosolvent Addition on Li Solvation in Acetonitrile-Based Solvate Electrolytes and Its Influence on S Reduction in a Li–S Battery" (PDF). ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 8 (50): 34360–34371. doi:10.1021/acsami.6b11358. OSTI 1374850. PMID 27998132.
  28. ^ Li, Zheng; Pan, Menghsuan Sam; Su, Liang; Tsai, Ping-Chun; Badel, Andres F.; Valle, Joseph M.; Eiler, Stephanie L.; Xiang, Kai; Brushett, Fikile R.; Chiang, Yet-Ming (2017-10-11). "Air-Breathing Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage". Joule. 1 (2): 306–327. doi:10.1016/j.joule.2017.08.007. ISSN 2542-4351.
  29. ^ Chiang, Yet-Ming; Su, Liang; Pan, Mengshuan Sam; Li, Zheng (2017-10-11). "Lowering the Bar on Battery Cost". Joule. 1 (2): 212–219. doi:10.1016/j.joule.2017.09.015. ISSN 2542-4351.
  30. ^ "APS Fellow Archive". American Physical Society. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  31. ^ "Argonne's Crabtree elected to National Academy of Sciences". Argonne National Laboratory. April 29, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  32. ^ "American Academy for the Arts and Sciences" (PDF). 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2018.