We are pleased to announce that Kelsey Hatzell won the Arthur Nowick award this year. Congratulations to Kelsey!
This award is presented at each Fall Meeting starting 2012. Kristy Jost won the inaugural award in 2012 (http://www.mrs.org/f12-gsa/). Kelsey won it this year. Thus, two of the three most prestigious graduate student awards in materials science given worldwide went to our students. We simply have the best materials science PhD students in the world!
The paper of “Flexible and conductive MXene films and nanocomposites with high capacitance”, by Chang E. Ren, Meng-qiang Zhao and our former group members Zheng Ling and James Giammarco, is on publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This paper is the first ever report on composites based on MXenes- the new class of two-dimensional materials that we have been exploring with Prof. Barsoum’s group since 2011. This kind of composite films has an amazing combination of electrical, mechanical and electrochemical properties, and can challenge graphene-based or composite films/papers.
Boris Dyatkin recently completed an 8-week research visit to Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in Dalian (Liaoning Province, China). He was the recipient of an International Research Fellowship, awarded by the The International Center for Materials Resarch (ICMR) at UC Santa Barbara. Boris worked with the Carbon Research Laboratory of Professor Qiu. His research focused on exploring fundamental properties of graphene aerogels and porous carbons and optimizing their structures for energy storage. He additionally delivered invited seminar talks at East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) and Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU).
Congratulations to Dr. John (Jake) McDonough, who successfully defended his thesis, “Carbon Onions for Electrochemical Capacitors,” on June 11. (See Jake’s abstract below, or visit the Publications page for some of his published papers.)
Best wishes to Jake in his future endeavors!
Energy off the grid, whether it be generation, storage, or efficiency, is a worldwide problem that everyone can relate to, from a cell phone battery dying, to gas efficiency in a vehicle. An alternative system that is able to deliver much higher power than batteries is called an electric double layer capacitor (EDLC, also called supercapacitor or ultracapacitor). EDLCs are fundamentally different in their charge storage mechanism, which relies on the physical adsorption of ions on a high surface area material instead of chemical reactions. This system can deliver more than 10x the power density, be charged and discharged almost a million times, and has an excellent efficiency (~95%). The major obstacle is its lower energy density, with batteries having about 10x the energy density of an EDLC.
The low energy density of EDLCs has caused most research groups in the field to focus on improving this property. Unfortunately, it is a fundamental problem with the system, and may never be solved. For this reason, it is the goal of this work to further increase the power capabilities of EDLCs, approaching that of electrolytic capacitors, by exploring a new material, called carbon onions, or onion-like carbon (OLC). Never before has a thesis been focused solely on developing OLC for EDLC applications. OLC in its raw form has major advantages over traditional porous materials for EDLCs: it is nonporous allowing for exceptional charge- discharge rates, which translates into power densities more than 10x higher than traditional EDLC materials, although at the expense of a lower energy density.
This work focuses on understanding the effect of annealing conditions and precursor material on the OLC transformation mechanism and kinetics. The resulting structure and physical properties of OLC are correlated with electrochemical properties as OLC is used in EDLC electrodes. The capacitance of OLC was increased through chemical alteration of its surface and by coating the surface with redox active molecules. The unique structure of OLC allows for novel uses of the material with ionic liquid electrolytes and as a conductive additive to conventional EDLC materials.
Earlier this year, PhD student and Nanomaterials Group Member Katie Van Aken won ACS Publications’ nano t-shirt design contest. Katie’s winning design has now been adapted and t-shirts have been distributed — see members of the Nanomaterials Group showing them off below.