When 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Feb 01, 2013
Where 1670 Beyster Building
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Processing and Characterization of Structural and Functional Materials for Energy Applications


Yongfeng Lu
Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ever-increasing demands on energy supply impose grand challenges but at the same time provide many opportunities for material science and engineering. One of the oldest and most proliferated energy materials is carbon. For centuries, carbon has been used for energy generation and energy storage. Over the last decade, fundamental scientific studies and engineering ingenuity at atomic scales have rapidly transferred functions of carbon from fire woods into highly functional materials supporting many aspects of modern energy technologies. In this presentation, the speaker will introduce his research activities in processing structured carbons in various forms for energy applications, including diamond, carbon nanotubes, carbon nanoonions, graphene, and carbyne. Laser-matter interactions can be spatially and spectrally controlled and optimized to produce carbon with desired atomic structures. This talk will discuss a number of approaches to producing nanocarbon materials with desired properties for various applications. Nanocarbon materials have been used for energy storage (supercapacitors) and friction reduction (super lubricants). Macro, micro, and nano-scaled hierarchal structures are being developed to realize supercapacitors with high energy density and power density simultaneously. Direct formation of graphene layers on dielectric surfaces opens up a new arena for providing carbon-based transparent electrodes for solar cells and flat-panel displays. Nanostructured carbon materials also hold promise to reduce skin effects in high-frequency applications, which is a significant barrier in realizing wireless charging of electric vehicles. In pursuing the fundamental energy science, the speaker will also introduce his recent discovery that vibrational modes of precursor molecules play important roles in combustion and material synthesis, leading to an assumption that temperature may not be the unique parameter governing thermally driven chemical processes.

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