Low-Temperature Material Synthesis
Architectured Nanomembranes for In-situ Energy Conversion Technologies
Oxide-based ionic conductors, such as oxygen- or proton-conducting ceramic membranes, are extremely important materials for a wide range of applications, such as in fuel cells (electrolytes or electrodes), sensors, gas separations, catalysis, microbatteries, thermoelectric generators, and other solid-state ionics-based devices. Recent work has documented the current development of various ionic or mixed conducting oxides. A major technological challenge is how to create and utilize these potential "candidate" conducting oxides in the form of thin-layer membranes that promise much higher ionic conductivity than any existing ceramic membranes.
The objective of this project is to explore the engineering concept studies and analyze the technological and economic impacts of a novel type of architecture in nanocomposite membranes. The nanoscale host-guest architecture contains oriented interfaces between nanotube/nanowire arrays perpendicular to the membrane layer. Membrane nanostructures determine the performance of a fuel cell, and also possibly, that of solar cells, thermal electric devices, and catalytic membrane reactors. This project will address the processing issues to enable the large-quantity production of such membranes in practical size, and then evaluate them for specific energy applications. Furthermore, the overall technical and economic impacts of such nanomembrane platforms upon various energy technologies (catalytic membrane reactors for petrochemical oil conversion, PEM fuel cells, solar cells, thermoelectric devices, etc.) will be evaluated.