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Title: Functional Energy Materials: From 1D and 2D Polymers to 3D Carbon Nanomaterials
Presenter: Professor Liming Dai Center of Advanced Science and Engineering for Carbon (Case4Carbon) Departments of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, USA.
Date: Thursday 26 May 2016
Venue: LKM Theatre AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus Level 1
It is estimated that the world will need to double its energy supply by 2050. With the rapid increase in the global energy consumption, there is a pressing need for clean and renewable energy alternatives. Polymers have been traditionally used as electrically insulating materials: after all, metal wires are coated in plastics to insulate them. Various conjugated macromolecules with alternating single and double bonds can now be synthesized with unusual electrical and optical properties through the -electron delocalization along their 1D backbones. Due to the molecular rigidity of conjugated backbones, however, most unfunctionalized conjugated polymers are intractable (i.e., insoluble and/or infusible). Nevertheless, a number of synthetic methods have been devised to produce conjugated polymers with the processing advantages of plastics and the optoelectronic properties of inorganic semiconductors for optoelectronic device applications, including polymer photovoltaic cells .
Having conjugated all-carbon structures, carbon nanomaterials, including 1D carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and 2D graphene, also possess certain similar optoelectronic characteristics as conjugated macromolecules, apart from their unique structures and associated properties (e.g., surface/size effects) . With the rapid development in nanoscience and nanotechnology, graphitic carbon nanomaterials (e.g., 1D CNTs, 2D graphene) have been playing a more and more important role in the development of efficient energy conversion and storage devices, including solar cells, fuel cells, supercapacitors and batteries [2-6]. The combination of the unique physicochemical properties of graphitic carbon nanomaterials with comparable optoelectronic properties of appropriate conjugated macromolecules has yielded some interesting synergetic effects. Therefore, considerable efforts have recently been made to utilize graphitic carbon nanomaterials, along with polymers, as energy materials, and tremendous progress has been achieved in developing high-performance energy conversion and storage devices based on graphitic carbon nanomaterials and conjugated polymers . More recently, some 2D conjugated polymers and certain 3D graphitic carbon architectures (e.g., CNT-graphene pillared networks, graphene foams) have been demonstrated to show additional advantages for efficient energy conversion and storage [8,9].
In this talk, I will summarize our work on rational design and development of multi-dimensional conjugated polymers and graphitic carbon nanomaterials for efficient energy conversion and storage, including polymer solar cells containing graphitic carbon nanomaterials for improved charge transport, fuel cells and metal-air batteries with carbon nanomaterials/polymers as metal-free catalysts for oxygen reduction and evolution, and flexible supercapacitors based on CNT-/graphene-based electrodes for energy storage. A brief overview of this exciting field, along with some challenges and opportunities, will also be presented.
References  Dai L. “Intelligent Macromolecules for Smart Devices”, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 2004.  Gong K, Du F, Xia Z, Dustock M, Dai L. Science 2009, 323, 760.  Yu D, Zhang Q, Dai L, Chen Y. et al., Nat. Nanotechnol. 2014, 9, 555.  Dai L, Xue Y, Qu L, Choi H J, Baek J B. Chem. Rev. 2015, 115, 4823.  Zhang J, Zhao Z, Xia Z, Dai L. Nat Nanotechnol. 2015, 10, 444.  Shui J, Wang M, Du F, Dai L. Sci. Adv. 2015, 1, e1400129.  Xu J, Chen Y, Dai L. Nat. Commun. 2015, 6, 8103.  Dai L. Acc. Chem. Res. 2013, 46, 31.  Lu W, Baek JB, Dai L. (Eds.) “Carbon Nanomaterials for Advanced Energy Systems”, Wiley, 2015.
Liming Dai joined Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in fall 2009 as the Kent Hale Smith Professor in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. He is also director of the Center of Advanced Science and Engineering for Carbon (CASE4Carbon). Dr. Dai received a BSc degree from Zhejiang University in 1983, and a PhD from the Australian National University in 1991. He accepted a postdoctoral fellowship from the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, and two years later became a visiting fellow in Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He spent 10 years with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Melbourne, Australia. Before joining the CWRU, he was an associate professor of polymer engineering at the University of Akron and the Wright Brothers Institute Endowed Chair Professor of Nanomaterials at the University of Dayton. Dr. Dai’s expertise covers the synthesis, functionalization, and device fabrication of conjugated polymers and carbon nanomaterials for energy-related and biomedical applications. He has published more than 400 scientific papers, and held about 30 issued/applied patents. His h-index: >80; Citations: >25,000 (Source: ISI Web of Science; Author query: “Dai LM” and “Dai L). He has also published a research monograph on intelligent macromolecules (Springer), an edited book on carbon nanotechnology (Elsevier), a co-edited book on carbon nanomaterials for advanced energy systems (Wiley), and another co-edited book on carbon nanomaterials for biomedical applications (Springer). Dr. Dai serves as an Associate Editor of Nano Energy (Elsevier) and editorial board member of several international journals. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters) and has received many awards, including the 2016 CWRU Faculty Distinguished Research Award, the 2013 Zhejiang Science and Technology Award, the 2006 Ohio Outstanding Engineer and Scientist Award, and the 2006 George Noland Research Award from Sigma Xi. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
Liming Dai can be reached at: Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Case School of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH44106 USA
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