Engineering graduate student wins distinguished ORNL fellowship

Marm B. Dixit, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is a recipient of a Weinberg Distinguished Staff Fellowship in the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“The Weinberg fellowship is a highly competitive, prestigious early-career research opportunity that will enable Marm to create independent research paths, said Flowers Family Faculty Fellow Kelsey B. Hatzell, an assistant professor in mechanical and chemical engineering and Dixit’s adviser. The Weinberg fellowship honors the late Alvin M. Weinberg, ORNL’s longest serving director, 1955 to 1973.

Marm Dixit

Dixit will join the Battery and Fuel Cells Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing Group in the Energy and Transportation Science Division, led by Ilias Belharouak, a distinguished scientist and group leader, which focuses on scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that accelerate the development and deployment of transportation technologies.

The fellowship will allow Dixit to pursue independent research in the burgeoning field of solid-state batteries. He aims to leverage characterization techniques to inform design and manufacturing of high energy density solid-state batteries.  Dixit expects the insights gained from the proposed study will be extremely relevant to the scientific community in the solid-state battery field as well as to industries in the energy storage sector.

“Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been making history since its inception and continues to do so daily with advances in a wide range of scientific disciplines. I am excited to join this engaging community of researchers to pursue research in a field I am passionate about,” Dixit said.

Transportation contributes to almost one-quarter of the current energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. With a growing end-use sector, electrification of the transportation sector is key to meet the emissions criteria set by the Paris climate agreement in 2016 to meet the less-than-2-degree pathway, Dixit said. “Adoption of electro-mobility relies heavily on the performance of the energy storage devices in terms of range offered, durability and charging times.”

Dixit is a rising leader and expert on non-equilbrium characterization of energy materials. Since joining Vanderbilt, he has been a pioneer in developing advanced characterization techniques for characterizing physical processes at buried solid|solid interfaces and has made significant contributions to the solid- state battery community.

His research at ORNL will employ facilities offered by the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and the Neutron Sciences Division as well as other Department of Energy facilities, and include the use of big data and machine learning.

“Bridging fundamental scientific insight into a proven technology is a pipedream for everyone pursuing science,” Dixit said. “The Weinberg Distinguished Staff Fellowship offers me a great opportunity to leverage my skills and the excellent resources with the capabilities and knowledge of exemplary peers and mentors at ORNL, in pursuing this endeavor.”

Dixit has published nearly 20 journal articles in top energy and materials journals and selected to be an invited student speaker at the 2020 Gordon Research Seminar on Batteries. In addition to these recognitions, Dixit was one of 60 graduate students selected for the 2017 National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering and he recently completed a six-month internship at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314