Dipobrato Sarbapalli

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign working with Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López. My Ph.D. research focuses broadly on the electroanalytical characterization of energy storage systems such as lithium-ion and redox flow batteries. I am trained as an experimental materials scientist, and throughout my academic journey I have followed a research paradigm of characterizing micro- to nano-scale processes within different materials systems so as to understand the governing factors in the practical operation of such materials. I also enjoy scripting in Python (and Matlab) which enables efficient data analysis and design of custom experiments involving large volumes of data. My ultimate goal is to enter the industry as a materials engineer or researcher.

Prior my doctoral studies, I graduated with an M.S. in Civil Engineering from UIUC in 2018, where I worked with Dr. Paramita Mondal (currently at the University of Delaware) on studying reaction mechanisms in inorganic binder materials. I spent the summer of 2017 working as a DAAD Fellow with BASF at their headquarters in Ludwigshafen, where I worked with Dr. Tobias Umbach. I received my B.Tech in Civil Engineering from NIT Trichy, graduating first class with honors. During my undergraduate studies, I spent my sophomore and junior year summers interning at the IIT Delhi with Dr. Biswajit Bhattacharjee, researching on durability and sustainability of concrete binder materials.

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(CV and Résumé updated as of September 2021)

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Currently, my doctoral research centers on applying electroanalytical techniques to study graphitic interfaces in Li-ion and redox flow batteries. My research has both an electroanalytical and materials component. On the electroanalytical side, I perform characterization of battery performance through bulk techniques such as Cyclic Voltammetry, Amperometry and Potentiostatic Titration measurements, and I utilize Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy along with Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy to characterize electrode-electrolyte interfacial processes such as interphase formation and electron transfer rates. On the materials side, I am study the effect of carbon electrode structure and functionalization (edge planes, basal planes, defects, surface functionalization) on its electrochemical performance. I also enjoy devising and working with multi-modal characterization techniques, such as combining electrochemical and spectroscopic methods to reveal chemical and electrochemical events simultaneously, and creating custom cell designs using AutoCAD (and hopefully Solidworks in the near future).

Previously I was working on studying reaction mechanisms of amorphous, aluminosilicate binder materials termed as geopolymers. Specifically, I synthesized zeolitic nucleation seeds to control reaction kinetics and utilized multiple characterization techniques ranging from x-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, and electron microscopy to understand the consequences of seeding. To know more about my M.S research, please find a PDF version of my thesis here.

My graduate research experience has inculcated the idea of using a bottom-up approach to influence macroscale behavior by understanding fundamental phenomena at the micro-nano scale. Hence, I continually look forward to practical macro-scale problems wherein I can apply such a paradigm, in working for a solution. Exposure to the fundamentals of two completely different, yet widely used materials systems has given me a unique and versatile skill set, and I look forward to applying these skills in an industry setting.

Select Publications
Picture Your Electrode: A Primer on Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy
Michael J. Counihan, Dipobrato Sarbapalli, and Joaquín Rodríguez-López
Electrochemical Society Interface, \(2020\), [BibTeX]
A combined SECM and electrochemical AFM approach to probe interfacial processes affecting molecular reactivity at redox flow battery electrodes
Tylan S. Watkins, Dipobrato Sarbapalli, Michael J. Counihan, Andrew S. Danis, Jingjing Zhang, Lu Zhang, Kevin R. Zavadil, and Joaquín Rodríguez-López
Journal of Materials Chemistry A, \(2020\), [BibTeX]
Advanced Electrochemical Analysis for Energy Storage Interfaces
Jingshu Hui, Zachary T. Gossage, Dipobrato Sarbapalli, Kenneth Hernández-Burgos, and Joaquín Rodríguez-López
Analytical Chemistry, \(2018\), [BibTeX]
Effect of TiO2 and ZnO nanopowders on metakaolin-sodium hydroxide geopolymers
Dipobrato Sarbapalli, and Paramita Mondal
Proceedings of the 41st International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites, \(2018\)
Application of SAP and PEG as curing agents for ordinary cement-based systems: impact on the early age properties of paste and mortar with water-to-cement ratio of 0.4 and above
Dipobrato Sarbapalli, Yash Dhabalia, Kaustav Sarkar, and Bishwajit Bhattacharjee
European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering, \(2016\), [BibTeX]

For a full list of publications, check out my Google Scholar or access my List of Publications here.

NIT Trichy
IIT Delhi
Summer 2013, 2014
DAAD Fellow
Summer 2017
Summer 2017
2019 - Present
Fellowship Honorable Mention: Link Energy Foundation Fellowship gave an honorable mention to my application, and I wish to acknowledge my mentors (Dr. Jingshu Hui, Dr. Michael J. Counihan and Dr. Zachary T. Gossage), my peers and adviser, Professor Joaquín Rodríguez-López. This recognition is a tribute to their perservarance, support, and commitment in my career.
Preliminary examinations: Successfully passed my preliminary exams in Aug 2020! Thanks to my adviser, and committee members Professors Shoemaker, Braun and Zhang. Thanks also to Bhavesh Shrimali, Braun group members Dr. Ashish Kulkarni and Gaurav Singhal, JRL group (specifically Mike Counihan and Abhiroop Mishra) for all the help with the preparation!
Ph.D. Qualifying Exams: Passed my qualifying exams on Electrochemistry and Ceramics Processing! Onto the next level - Preliminary exams.
Workshop Speaker: I was invited by the American Concrete Institute Student Chapter to deliver a two-hour workshop on using OriginPro for plotting and data analysis.
Poster Presentation: I have been awarded the Best Poster Award at the SEAC Poster Session in PITTCON 2020, Chicago. [Poster PDF]
Graduation (M.S.): Graduated with a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (August 2018). I will be transitioning into my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, working with Professor Joaquín Rodríguez-López on electrochemical energy storage.
Teaching Assistant CEE \(\sf 300\) Spring 2018:Returned as a Lab Instructor, supervising ≈60 students in 4 lab sections every week. I was rated as an Outstanding Teaching Assistant.
Teaching Assistant CEE \(\sf 401\) Fall 2017: Returned as the lab TA, rated as Excellent Teaching Assistant.
Fellowship Award: Awarded the DAAD RISE Professional Fellowship for an internship with BASF Ludwigshafen (March 2017). I will be spending my summer working within the Materials Physics Division, Advanced Materials and Systems Research at Ludwigshafen.
Teaching Assistant CEE \(\sf 401\) Fall 2016: Completed a graduate/senior undergradute TA for "Concrete Materials" and was rated as an Outstanding Teaching Assistant. I guided a lab course of ≈18 graduate and undergraduates in the preparation and testing of fresh and hardened concrete. Prepared a design project for the students in the later half of the course.
Graduation (B.Tech): Graduated with a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from NIT Trichy (May 2015). I will be joining the Construction Materials program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working with Professor Paramita Mondal.

Template credits Jon and Bhavesh. Last updated: 14th September 2021.