Nanostructured Materials for Energy

By creating nanostructured materials for energy applications we are leveraging the unique properties of nanomaterials such as electronic and acoustic confinement.  Other advantages of nanostructured materials are their high surface to volume ratio.  Our focus in this area is on metals and complex metal oxides.  A variety of compositions and shapes are being explored for use in application-specific devices.  Important to all our work is that we maintain environmentally friendly materials and synthetic techniques, and produce the materials through scalable nanomanufacturing.

One target material is NaxCoO2.  NaxCoO2 has favorable stoichiometric-dependent properties, such as a high thermoelectric power factor, superconductivity, and candidacy as a cathode material in sodium ion batteries.  For battery applications, scaling this material to nanometer dimensions is expected to significantly improve its performance due to increased surface area.  For thermoelectrics, phonon confinement by the nanometer dimensions is expected to reduce thermal conductivity which should result in enhanced ZT.

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