Synthesis of LaNiO2-XFX, an Oxyfluoride; The Technological Momentum of the Power Grid

Flaherty, Jacob, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Elliott, Travis, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Louca, Despina, University of Virginia

The need for materials with advanced electronic capabilities grows and will continue to grow at an exceptional rate for many years to come. My group, working in the lab of and under the direction of Physics Department Chair Dr. Despina Louca, set out on a project this semester to synthesize a new material, LaNiOxF2-x, which falls into the category of being an oxyfluoride. Oxyfluorides are a versatile family of materials that have many uses due to their optical properties and high conductivity. We were ultimately unable to finish the syntheses due to a supplier’s mix up sending us the wrong source material, but managed to develop and perfect our process for when we do have the correct materials. Though there is no direct connection between this project and my STS project, there is always a strong need for new materials in the field of energy production and distribution. My STS project draws attention to the sociotechnical issue that we face when our society relies on a century old electric grid that must be adopted for a new generation of electrification. As the electric grid ages, it becomes less capable of withstanding heavy load, while as society advances, the load put upon it continues to increase. Society is forced to live with this aged technology because with our long history of dependence on it, it has gained a momentum and sway on how we live our lives. Nearly every electric device that we use today is dependent on it. This is why, despite its failings and increasing blackouts, we have not sought any alternatives. The way out of this dilemma is not to cast aside this technology entirely. It would be a horrible waste of resources and be much too costly to replace. Instead, the electric grid needs augmentation to become more reliable, such as with microgrids. In this way, we will be able to turn a past technology that we are forced to adopt into one that benefits us greatly and suits today's needs.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Oxyfluoride, Technological Momentum, Power Grid

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor's of Science in Engineering Science
Technical Advisor: Dr. Despina Louca
STS Advisor: Travis Elliott
Technical Team Members: Jacob Flaherty, John Schneeloch

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