Symposium on Nanomaterials for Energy: Graphitic Petals for Electrochemical Charge Storage

By Ron Reifenberger

Physics Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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The need for high-density electrochemical energy storage in today’s world is self-evident, and we have investigated the advantages offered by graphitic petals (GPs) to achieve this end. The controlled growth of GPs permits nano-texturing of a substrate, producing an enhanced carbon-based material to enable new technologies that might benefit from such features. The conditions required for the rapid growth of GPs in a microwave plasma chemical vapour deposition system have been investigated, and the controlled growth of these highly porous nanostructures has been achieved. We have investigated the fabrication of various hybrid nanoarchitectures of GPs on a number of substrates that include a) thermally oxidized Si wafers, b) commercial carbon nanotube substrates (buckypaper), and c) highly conductive carbon cloth (CC). GPs grown on buckypaper and CC are ideally suited for flexible-electrode supercapacitors and micro supercapacitor applications. By electropolymerization of aniline monomers to form a thin polyaniline (PANI) film, we find that CC/GP/PANI electrodes yield greatly improved capacitive performance with a high specific capacitance of 1500 F/g (based on PANI mass) at 2 mV/s (3 times greater than that of CC/PANI) and a large area-normalized specific capacitance of ~2.5 F/cm2 (equivalent to >200 F/cm3) at 1 A/g (~10 times greater than that of CC/PANI in 1 M H2SO4 electrolyte). These levels of electrochemical storage performance are also competitive with the best prospective supercapacitor electrode materials recently reported in the literature. To demonstrate a practical application, we have used flexible supercapacitors based on this technology to power LED devices. Such results indicate a promising future for GP-based electrodes for the next generation of supercapacitors.


Ron Reifenberger Ron Reifenberger is currently a professor of Physics at Purdue University and a member of Purdue’s Center for Sensing Science and Technology. He received his undergraduate degree in Physics from John Carroll University in 1970 and his PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1976. He joined the Physics faculty at Purdue in 1978 following a two-year post-doctoral appointment in the Physics Department at the University of Toronto. Upon joining the faculty at Purdue, Reifenberger initiated a program to measure photo-induced field emitted electrons from a variety of metals. Since 1986, Reifenberger’s scanning probe group has been active in furthering inter-disciplinary nanoscale research at Purdue by establishing collaborations with faculty throughout campus. His group has focused on research problems that emphasize the role of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) as one of the key enablers of nanotechnology. His current research is focused on non-linear dynamics of SPM cantilevers, micro patterning of substrates for the rapid detection of targeted bacteria, and fundamental measurements related to current flow in molecules, carbon nanotubes and Au nanocluster networks. This work is currently supported by grants from ARO, NSF, DOE, NASA and NAVSEA and has resulted in ~130 refereed publications and three US patents. Reifenberger has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from John Carroll University in 1992, is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and has been a Conference Co-organizer of the European Trends in Nanotechnology 2001 and Trends in Nanotechnology 2002 Conferences. He recently participated in the international APEC Foresight Committee entitled Nanotechnology, The Technology for the 21st Century.

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  • Ron Reifenberger (2015), "Symposium on Nanomaterials for Energy: Graphitic Petals for Electrochemical Charge Storage,"

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MGRN 129, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN