Functionalized carbon based materials for electrochemical energy applications

Supervisors: Dr Dawei Wang and Scientia Prof Rose Amal

Abstract:

Functionalized carbon-based materials have much higher surface activity compared to bare carbon surfaces. These heterogeneous carbon materials have vast potential in electrochemical energy technologies, such as batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells. This project is specifically devised to meet the emerging demands on high energy and high power electrochemical devices. Our research will bring together the materials development and the novel device fabrication. The ultimate target will be to make compact, light weight and high performing devices.

The material candidates are versatile, including nanoporous carbons, carbon nanostructures (rods, fibers, tubes, wires, sheets, spheres, etc.) and their 3D assemblies (including film, membrane, aerogel and hydrogel, etc.). The materials will be functionalized by chemical, electrochemical, mechnochemical and physical methods. The surface functionalities will include surface functional groups (oxygen, nitrogen, boron, phosphorus, or halogen), transitional metallic species (Mn, Co, Fe, Ni, MnOx, CoOx, etc.) and conducting polymers (polyaniline, polypyrrole, etc.). The study will explore the electrochemical activity of these functionalized carbon surfaces in aqueous and aprotic electrolytes. Versatile characterization methods (XRS, FTIR, EQCM, TEM, ect.) will be adopted.

 

Expected Outcome:

The project will allow students to work in a team to develop solutions to an elusive real world problem. The research is expected to lead to a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Significant improvement in catalyst performance may even lead to a start-up company! The project will train students in synthesis, characterization and activity testing techniques, preparing for future career in industry and/or higher degree research.   

Reference: please contact Dr Dawei Wang (da-wei.wang@unsw.edu.au) for reference and if you have any questions.