Charge transfer in common active electronic components takes place across planar (2D) interfaces. It goes without saying that 3D nanostructures offer many advantages. In this project, the focus of our research efforts is to precisely engineer multiple continuous solid-solid interfaces in the bulk of 3D nanoporous metal scaffolds. Our second research goal is to investigate potential applications involving these new 3D nanocomposites.
3D Non-Precious Nanoporous Metals for Energy Applications
The synthesis of earth-abundant non-precious nanoporous metals is hindered by the relatively high chemical reactivity of non-precious elements. In this project, our primary research goal is to develop and optimize air-free non-aqueous synthesis routes to non-precious nanoporous metals and their composites. Our second research goal is the integration these non-precious nanoporous metals and their composites into chemical and electrochemical energy storage systems.
3D Dual Microscopic Length Scale Structures for Energy Applications
In this project, we exploit the crystal structure of multiphase alloys to engineer nanoporous materials with multiple microscopic length scales. Our primary research effort is to develop cost-effective route to earth-abundant nanoporous materials with bimodal porosity. These nanoporous materials with bimodal porosity are very attractive as battery electrodes, as the big pores are needed for long range electrolyte diffusion, and the mesopores are needed to create high surface area, short diffusion paths for lithium, sodium or magnesium ion. More importantly, mesopores are needed to accommodate the large volume changes taking place in high-capacity alloy-type battery anodes during alloying reaction with lithium, sodium or magnesium.