Jordi Cabana

Assistant Professor

Website:  Cabana Research Group

Education and Professional Experience:

B.Sc. in Chemistry, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), 2000; Ph.D. in Materials Science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), 2004; Postdoctoral Associate, Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (Spain), 2004-2005; Postdoctoral Fellow, Stony Brook University (USA), 2005-2008; Research Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2008-2013; Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2013-today.

Research Interests:
Our group is generally interested in the physical and inorganic chemistry of materials, with emphasis on redox and transport properties.  We aim to provide chemistry solutions to technological problems in energy applications, with current focus on electrochemical energy storage, which is critical in the development of a green economy based on renewable sources.  Our group combines approaches from classical solid state chemistry with nanoscience, with the goal of contributing to a unified field, where, for instance, synthesis of complex new compounds can rapidly be transitioned to their nano/mesoscale tailoring.

Our interests in inorganic chemistry lie in significantly improving our ability to synthesize compositionally and morphologically complex, stable, functional materials.  One of our current thrusts involves increasing the applicability of colloidal synthesis of nanocrystals to high levels of chemical complexity.  The second thrust focuses on the solid state chemistry of mixed anion compounds.  It involves extending existing knowledge into new chemical spaces, with the general principle of synergistically tailoring chemical bonding and physical properties.  The presence of secondary anions can introduce crystal structural disorder that favors ion diffusion, as well as stabilize transition metals in high formal oxidation states.  These thrusts will allow us to explore the boundaries of ionic conduction, redox and intercalation chemistry of solids, as well as the limits of electrochemical energy storage. 

Our interests in physical chemistry center on defining the chemical pathways of redox phase transformations in solids.  We are interested in phenomena that occur at multiple length scales, from atomic to macroscopic, or, in other words, from single crystals to particle assemblies.  For this purpose, we strongly rely on X-ray-based tools, particularly those accessible at synchrotron facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source, at Argonne National Laboratory.  We have demonstrated a variety of methodologies of chemical imaging at several spatial resolutions, both in 2D and 3D (see figure below), and currently push to break the technical boundaries to be able to image increasingly small single crystals during the transformation.

Depiction of the concept of full field transmission X-ray microscopy coupled with X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the near edge structure (FFTXM-XANES). (a) A monochromatic X-ray beam is focused onto the sample and the image is projected onto the detector by means of a micro-zone plate lens. (b) (1) One image is acquired in absorption contrast at each energy. (2) XANES are constructed from each pixel. (3) XANES from each pixel is fit to create a chemical phase map. (4) One phase map is generated at each angle in a tomographic scan. (5) The set of phase maps is used for tomographic reconstruction to retrieve three-dimensional chemical speciation.

[Reproduced with permission of the International Union of Crystallography, from F. Meirer, J. Cabana et al. J. Synch. Rad. 2011, 18, 773-781]



  1. 1.C. Kim, R. Buonsanti, R. Yaylian, D. J. Milliron and J. Cabana.  Carbon-free TiO2 battery electrodes enabled by morphological control at the nanoscale, Adv. Energy Mater. 2013, 3, 1286–129.
  2. L. Xu, C. Kim, A. K. Shukla, A. Dong, T. M. Mattox, D. J. Milliron and J. Cabana.  Monodisperse Sn nanocrystals as a platform for the study of mechanical damage during electrochemical reactions with Li, Nano Lett. 2013, 13, 1800–1805.
  3. C. Kim, N. S. Norberg, C. T. Alexander, R. Kostecki and J. Cabana.  Mechanism of phase propagation during lithiation in carbon-free Li4Ti5O12 battery electrodes, Adv. Funct. Mater. 2013, 23, 1214-1222.
  4. U. Boesenberg, F. Meirer, Y. Liu, A. K. Shukla, R. Dell’Anna, T. Tyliszczak, G. Chen, J. C. Andrews, T. J. Richardson, R. Kostecki and J. Cabana.  Mesoscale phase distribution in single particles of LiFePO4 following lithium deintercalation, Chem. Mater. 2013, 25, 1664–1672.
  5. J. Cabana, C. M. Ionica-Bousquet, C. P. Grey and M. R. Palacín.  High rate performance of lithium manganese nitride and oxynitride as negative electrodes in lithium batteries, Electrochem. Commun. 2010, 12, 315-318.

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Contact Information

Office: 4146 SES, MC 111
Phone: 312-355-4309
Fax: 312-996-0431