|Controlled Synthesis of Nanomaterials and Their Application in Energy Storage|
This talk will describe two approaches for controlled synthesis of nanomaterials. Part 1 will describe that by using a sacrificial polymer blends derived templates, three-dimensional, bi-continuous graphene monolith can be fabricated through chemical vapor deposition technique. This method allows to synthesize high quality graphene with controlled porosity. The resulting graphene monolith was used as binder-free electrode in supercapacitor applications and exhibited excellent stability. Part 2 will describe the synthesis of Ni-based metal organic frameworks (Ni-MOFs) with unique hierarchical hollow ball-in-ball nanostructure. After successive carbonization and oxidation treatments, hierarchical NiO/Ni nanocrystals covered with a graphene shell were obtained with the hollow ball-in-ball nanostructure intact. The resulting materials exhibited superior performance as the anode in lithium ion batteries, which can be attributed to the well-designed structure of the anode composites.
Dr. Yu Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Department of Polymer Science at the University of Akron, where his research focuses on nanomaterials and polymers. He received his Ph.D. from University of Cologne in Germany in 2003, where he studied novel light-emitting conjugated polymers under the supervision of Professor Bernd Tieke. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he joined Professor James Tour's lab at Rice University as a postdoctoral fellow, where his researches focuses on carbon nanomaterials synthesis and energy storage devices. Since starting at UA's department of polymer science in 2012, his research has been recognized with a ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award and three NSF grants.