The major objective of this work is to design nanostructured and nanoporous materials targeting the special needs of the energy storage and sensing fields. Nanostructured and nanoporous materials are increasingly finding applications in many fields, including electrical energy storage and explosive sensing. The advancement of energy storage devices is important to the development of three fields that have strong effects on human society: renewable energy, transportation, and portable devices. More sensitive explosive sensors will help to prevent terrorism activities and boost national security.
Hierarchically porous LiFePO4 (LFP)/C composites were prepared using a surfactant and colloidal crystals as dual templates. The surfactant serves as the template for mesopores and polymeric colloidal spheres serve as the template for macropores. The confinement of the surfactant-LFP-carbon precursor in the colloidal templates is crucial to suppress the fast crystallization of LFP and helps to maintain the ordered structure. The obtained composites with high surface areas and ordered porous structure showed excellent rate performance when used as cathode materials for LIBs, which will allow them to be used as a power source for EVs and HEVs. The synthesis of LiFePO4 in three dimensionally confined spaces within the colloidal template resulted in the formation of spherical particles. Densely packed LiFePO4 spheres in a carbon matrix were obtained by spin-casting the LFP-carbon precursor on a quartz substrate and then pyrolyzing it. The product showed high capacity and could be charged /discharged with very little capacity fading over many cycles.
Three-dimensionally ordered mesoporous carbons were prepared from nano-sized silica sphere colloidal crystal templates. These materials with very high surface areas and ordered porous structure showed high capacitance and excellent rate capability when used as electrodes for supercapacitors.
Mesoporous silica thin films of different morphologies, including disordered (wormlike), 2D-hexagonal, 3D-hexagonal, and cubic structure, were prepared. The films were then doped or bridged with fluorescence compounds and used as sensors for nitroaromatic compounds. The sensor performance depended on both the film structure and the mode of fluorophore attachment. The best films showed high quenching rates and were stable during long time storage. The films can potentially be incorporated in portable sensing devices. (351 words)
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. March 2013. Major: Chemistry. Advisor: Andreas Stein,. 1 computer file (PDF); xx, 194 pages.
Vu, Anh D..
Nanoporous and nanostructured materials for energy storage and sensor applications.
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