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Meeting the surging energy demands calls for the holistic development of batteries with significantly higher energy densities than the contemporary Li-ion batteries. Lithium metal batteries (LMBs) offer up to ten times higher energy densities and therefore represent a promising alternative. However, most electrolytes developed for LMBs have poor compatibility with the lithium metal, which is highly reactive. Despite extensive Edisonian experimental investigations over the past five decades, none of the discovered electrolytes can sustain desirable long cycle lives. Ritesh Kumar’s research efforts involve developing and utilizing forward design (structure to property mapping) interpretable ML frameworks, Bayesian optimization (adaptive design) of targeted properties of electrolytes, and inverse design (property to structure mapping) of electrolytes with desired properties using generative algorithms. These AI/ML approaches will enable exploration of the electrolyte chemical space on an astronomical scale that remain vastly unexplored through traditional scientific methods.


Ritesh Kumar joined UChicago as a postdoctoral fellow at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering under Prof. Chibueze Amanchukwu in 2022. Kumar received a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in materials science from Indian Institute of Science, India in 2022, with their dissertation formulating robust strategies for designing efficient materials using quantum chemistry-based methods and ML algorithms. Kumar’s research interests span wide areas of materials informatics aimed at developing novel materials, at the intersection of physics, chemistry, materials science, computational modeling, data science, and cheminformatics. Kumar also hold a M.S. in Chemical Sciences from the Indian Institute of Science (2017) and a B.Sc. in Chemistry (Honors) from the University of Delhi, India (2015).