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Development of Tunable Nanoscale Materials for Energy Applications


The demand for energy storage, both portable and stationary, is constantly increasing with the advent of modern technologies like portable electronics and electric vehicles. Supercapacitors are an energy storage technology that can provide high power and long cycle life to devices across a wide variety of applications. Recent studies have explored how various parameters effect supercapacitor performance, however few have studied how to enhance the mass loading of the active material – a crucial criterion for bringing research chemistry to real world applications. This project aims to develop high surface area carbon with tunable hierarchical pores to improve (i) ion conductivity in the pores, (ii) power density/rate capability of ionic liquid electrolytes, (iii) and increased mass loading of the active material in the device. In addition, modified graphene and lithium sulfur batteries are discussed for applications in catalysis and energy storage respectively.

Chapter 1 presents an introduction to the relevant background for each chapter. Chapter 2 presents how covalent triazine frameworks can be synthesized to have tunable porosities allowing for hierarchical porous networks. In Chapter 3, hierarchical porous frameworks are utilized as supercapacitor active materials for high mass loading devices. Chapter 4 outlines a college level lab for students to get hands on experience with nanomaterials through fabricating supercapacitors out of reduced graphene oxide. Chapter 5 presents a method for functionalizing graphene with triazine motifs, which can be chelated with metals for high metal loading. Chapter 6 probes the chemistry of lithium sulfur batteries, and how using catalysts can help with polysulfide shuttling.

Overall these results emphasize how different nanomaterials can be tuned for a variety of applications including supercapacitors, catalysis, and batteries.

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