Nanostructured materials have attracted great interest in recent years due to their outstanding properties ranging from small size, high surface area, and outstanding performance in a variety of applications. For my doctoral research, I have been working on designing and synthesizing nanocomposites for application on catalysts and Li-ion batteries electrode materials. I developed a novel instant gelation method for synthesizing of porous metal oxides/sulfides/carbinde/nitride with large surface area. If carbon source is introduced, the metal components can be well embedded in a 3D porous conductive carbon matrix. The nanocomposites are ideal candidates for batteries, catalysts, sensors etc.
As a postdoctoral fellow, I have developed a general approach to prepare various free-standing metal sulfides and carbon mat for next-generation flexible batteries. I also developed a facile and cost-effective electrospray approach for ultrauniform, ultrafast, instantly-drying, and binder-free electrode preparation via utilizing micrometer-size graphene oxide nanosheets. This approach can significantly simplify the tedious traditional preparation techniques – drop cast and doctor blade, and more importantly get better adhesion and high uniformity. With this method, the desired mass loading of electrodes can be achieved with only a few minutes of spraying. The electrodes made can be directly used for battery assembly, no extra drying step required. As an extension of the electrospray technique, I also conducted experiments on functional surfaces nanocoating with desired properties (e.g. anti-corrosive, anti-fingerprint, anti-reflective, self-cleaning properties), in which “lotus effect” property was achieved.
In my independent faculty career, I would like to continue working on nanomaterials with application ranging from lithium batteries (Li-ion, Li-air, Li-sulfur battery), sodium-ion batteries, manganese-ion batteries, supercapacitors to catalysts, fuel cells, and solar cells. I will also be working on functional film coating via electrospray, for example, epitaxial manganese-based perovskite oxides thin film with colossal magnetoresistance effect, anti-corrosive film, and self-clean film coating.
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