NanoScience and Engineering Laboratory


Recent Group News

June 2019: New journal paper on 2D materials and sodium ion batteries accepted for publication. Congrats to graduate students and former postdoc for handling the manuscript. LINK

May 2019: Singh visited University of Cologne at the invitation of Prof. Mathur to review their Euro ENHANCE Horizon 2020 project and deliver invited lecture on polymer-derived ceramics at the workshop.

May 2019: Singh visited Alexandra Navrotsky Institute for Experimental Thermodynamics, Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University to deliver invited lecture on advanced materials for energy applications.

May 2019: Carla Real and Zhongkan Ren attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln Nanotech Minicourse on Nanotechnology, May 13-15, 2019.

March 2019: Read our new article on #Ceramic #Matrix #Composites or CMCs in April issue of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin. LINK

February 2019: Hosted Dr. Allison Horner of Spirit AeroSystems Inc. to discuss project opportunities in Ceramic Matrix Composites.

January 2019: Journal article on 2-D materials accepted for publication in ACS journal. LINK

Nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, layered TMDCs such as WS2 and MoS2 etc.) for Na and Li-ion rechargeable battery electrodes.

Press release related to this work (2016): IEEE Spectrum

Press release related to this work (2014/2015): Sciencedaily, Nanowerk

Press release related to this work (2014): IEEE Spectrum, Materials Today, Sciencedaily, Physorg, Times of India

Press release related to this work (2013): IEEE Spectrum, ChemViews, R&D Magazine, Graphene times, Newswise, Sciencedaily, Physorg

Polymer-derived ceramics (Si-C-N, Si-O-C and Si-B-C-N) for high power laser thermal detectors, radiation sensors and other energy based applications.

Press release related to this work (2016): PhysOrg

Press release related to this work (2013): Laser-Focus World, NIST-Technical Beat, K-State

Press release related to this work (2012): NSF Website, Newswise, Azo-nano, Physorg, Nanowerk

Graphene and Chemically Modified Graphene

Chemically Modified Graphene: We recently showed that sodium storage capacity of chemically modified graphene depends on the distance between the individual layers that can be tuned by heating it in argon or ammonia gas. For example, reduced graphene oxide sheets, or rGO, produced at high temperature have near zero sodium capacity, while reduced graphene oxide sheets produced at 500 degrees C have the maximum capacity. (JPC, see publications for details) (Media Coverage: Featured in ScienceDaily)

Graphene: In the past we have demonstrated synthesis of large area graphene films on Cu and Ni substrates in less than 30 min. Further, the as-synthesized films were directly utilized as electrode material and their electrochemical behavior was studied in a lithium half-cell configuration. FLG on Cu (Cu-G) showed reduced lithium intercalation capacity when compared with SLG, BLG and Bare-Cu suggesting its substrate protective nature (barrier to Li-ions). While graphene films on Ni (Ni-G) showed better Li-cycling ability similar to that of other carbons suggesting that the presence of graphene edge planes (typical of Ni-G) is important in effective uptake and release of Li-ions in these materials. (ACS-Appl. Mater. Interfaces, see publications for details) (Media Coverage: Featured in IEEE Spectrum, ChemViews , R&D MAGAZINE, GRAPHENE TIMES)

Two-Dimensional Layered Chalcogenides

Separation of bulk TMDCs into few-layer two-dimensional (2-D) crystals is of interest because of their high surface area for certain chemical processes and size-dependent optical and electronic characteristics. Our group has been involved in developing methods for physical separation of weakly bonded layered materials by use of a variety of solvents. We recently demonstrated liquid phase exfoliation of WS2 and MoS2 in superacid. We also studied their electrochemical behavior in a lithium half-cell configuration that showed a three-step charge–discharge behavior, characteristic of a conversion reaction (JPCL and Scientific Reports see publications for details) (Media Coverage: Featured in NEWSWISE and IEEE-Spectrum)

Laser-Matter Interaction: Coatings for High Power Laser Radiometry

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) and polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) are of interest due to their unique multifunctional properties. CNTs, however, tend to lose their well-defined structure and geometry at about 400 °C in air. PDCs on the other hand are structureless in X-ray diffraction but show high chemical and thermal stability in air (up to ~1400 °C). Our recent work demonstrate synthesis of a composite nanowire structure consisting of polymer-derived silicon boron-carbonitride (Si–B–C–N) shell with a multiwalled carbon nanotube core. This was achieved through a novel process involving preparation of a boron-modified liquid polymeric precursor through a reaction of trimethyl borate and poly (ureamethylvinyl) silazane under normal conditions; followed by conversion of polymer to ceramic on carbon nanotube surfaces through controlled heating. Chemical structure of the polymer was studied by liquid- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) while evolution of various ceramic phases was studied by solid-NMR, FTIR and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Thermogravimetric analysis, followed by Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy revealed high temperature stability of the carbon nanotube core in flowing air up to 1000 °C. Aim is to design a composite material with high optical absorbance (in the IR range) and high resistance to damage by laser irradiation (as much as 100 kW) (JACerS, see publications for details)

Molecular Precursor Derived Ceramics: Microwave Irradiation for Synthesis of Si(B)CN-MWCNT Composite

We also demonstrated synthesis of a polymer-derived ceramic (PDC)-multiwall carbon nanotube (MWCNT) composite using microwave irradiation at 2.45 GHz. The process takes about 10 minutes of microwave irradiation for the polymer-to-ceramic conversion. The successful conversion of polymer coated carbon nanotubes to ceramic composite was studied by Fourier transform-infrared and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and physically by thermogravimetric analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Frequency dependent dielectric measurements in the S-Band (300 MHz to 3 GHz) were studied to quantify the extent of microwave-CNT interaction and the degree of selective heating available at the MWCNT-polymer interface.  (ACS-Appl. Mater. Interfaces, see publications for more details)(Media Coverage: NSF Website, NEWSWISE, AZO-NANO, PHYSORG, NANOWERK and others).