Leo W. Gordon

Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate interested in NMR techniques for studying energy storage and carbon capture systems.



+1 (917) 742-7804

Steinman Hall, Rm. 305

160 Convent Ave.

New York, NY 10031, USA

Curriculum Vitae

I am a final year PhD student at The City College of New York (CCNY) working in the field of energy storage materials where I am advised by Prof. Robert J. Messinger.

My primary focus is using NMR characterisation techniques to determine charge storage mechanisms and to understand electrolyte speciation. Solid-state NMR is my main tool for investigating charge storage, which I apply to understand ionic and electronic charge storage mechanisms in organic electrodes for rechargeable aluminium batteries. I also have expertise in liquid NMR, which I have demonstrated through my work on lithium metal battery electrolytes, along with molten salt electrolytes for aluminum batteries. I have further interests in metal anode surface chemistries, lithium cathode recycling, and the nuances of charge storage with different molten salt electrolyte speciations. My central PhD work has culminated in publications including articles in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, and the Journal of Magnetic Resonance.

Before joining the Chemical Engineering department at CCNY, I attained an integrated Masters degree in Chemistry (MChem) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. During my thesis research I worked to develop and understand novel designs for multi-microelectrode arrays for electrochemical sensing applications. Also during the bachelors portion of my degree, I briefly investigated dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs) using plant derived dyes, targeting low-cost and minimally corrosive materials.

In my free time I enjoy bouldering to keep fit, and to make time-saving GUI programs to process data - many of which can be found on my GitHub profile!


Feb 27, 2023 The latest work from our group “Reversible Zinc Electrodeposition at −60 °C Using a Deep Eutectic Electrolyte for Low-Temperature Zinc Metal Batteries” was published today. In this work we demonstrate an electrolyte with a deep-eutectic point to enable reversible zinc electrodeposition down to temperatures of -60 °C. We make 0.1 M Zn(TFSI)2 electrolytes in different ratios of [EMIm]TFSI with gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) which are probed electrochemically to determine their macroscopic properties, and further analysed at the molecular level via NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to explain the differences in performance from an atomistic approach.
Jan 25, 2023 Our new study of aluminium-organic batteries, entitled “Revealing Impacts of Electrolyte Speciation on Ionic Charge Storage in Aluminum-Quinone Batteries by NMR Spectroscopy”, is now out in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance. This is a detailed analysis of the ionic charge storage mechanisms in aluminium-quinone batteries where we begin by detailing the speciation of three different Lewis acidic ionic liquid/ionic liquid analogue electrolytes by liquid-state NMR, we then use solid-state NMR to determine the nature of the complexed ions upon electrochemical discharge in each electrolyte. We further use DFT calculations to both determine the most favorable electroactive cation generation pathways and to link the experimentally derived NMR quadrupolar parameters to a physical basis of ion interaction with different quinone structures. Finally, we also validate our hypothesised mechanisms with targeted experiments, proving the function of various ionic species.
Sep 28, 2022 The 4th battery and energy storage conference, taking place this year in CUNY’s very own Advanced Science and Research Center building, was a fast-paced and highly engaging few days. Great talks from many people with a variety of topics - from space applications, to cutting edge recycling techniques.
Sep 13, 2022 ECS 2022 was a nice conference with lots of engaging talks, including from Nobel Laureate Prof. Stan Whittingham, who even stopped by the student mixer to mingle with the student members of ECS. It was great to meet a lot of new people, especially finally being able to meet people in person.
Aug 16, 2022 My debut first-author paper came out today, “Molecular-Scale Elucidation of Ionic Charge Storage Mechanisms in Rechargeable Aluminum–Quinone Batteries”. This study puts forward an in-depth analysis of charge storage mechanisms in aluminium-quinone batteries that we expect to be generalisable for all anthraquinone-based materials paired with aluminium-metal anodes in Lewis acidic AlCl3:[EMIm]Cl electrolyte. We used a combination of electrochemical analyses with mutlidimensional solid-state NMR techniques to develop a mechanistic understanding of electronic and ionic charge storage in Al-quinone batteries culminating in a detailed chemical reaction scheme. We also highlight a potential pitfall in sample harvesting and solid-state NMR methods to overcome this challenge.

Selected Publications

  1. Revealing impacts of electrolyte speciation on ionic charge storage in aluminum-quinone batteries by NMR spectroscopy
    Gordon, Leo W, Wang, Jonah, and Messinger, Robert J
    Journal of Magnetic Resonance Mar 2023
  2. Molecular-Scale Elucidation of Ionic Charge Storage Mechanisms in Rechargeable Aluminum–Quinone Batteries
    Gordon, Leo W., Jadhav, Ankur L., Miroshnikov, Mikhail, Schoetz, Theresa, John, George, and Messinger, Robert J.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry C Aug 2022
  3. Performance Leap of Lithium Metal Batteries in LiPF6 Carbonate Electrolyte by a Phosphorus Pentoxide Acid Scavenger
    Zhang, Jian, Shi, Jiayan,  Gordon, Leo W., Shojarazavi, Nastaran, Wen, Xiaoyu, Zhao, Yifan, Chen, Jianjun, Su, Chi-Cheung, Messinger, Robert J., and Guo, Juchen
    ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces Aug 2022
  4. Soluble Electrolyte-Coordinated Sulfide Species Revealed in Al–S Batteries by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
    Jay, Rahul, Jadhav, Ankur L.,  Gordon, Leo W., and Messinger, Robert J.
    Chemistry of Materials May 2022
  5. Disentangling Faradaic, Pseudocapacitive, and Capacitive Charge Storage: A Tutorial for the Characterization of Batteries, Supercapacitors, and Hybrid Systems
    Schoetz, T.,  Gordon, L.W., Ivanov, S., Bund, A., Mandler, D., and Messinger, R.J.
    Electrochimica Acta May 2022