Energy storage – Silvia Giordani’s group
The implementation of Hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier is impaired by the lack of technologies that can store in a compact and safe way this gas. We aim to provide a new material that can improve current hydrogen storage technologies by exploiting the high surface area of Graphene.
The research aims to identify promising pillared graphene-based 3D structures having morphological and chemical features tailored for gas hydrogen sorption. This imply deepening the understanding on the synthesis of these materials in order to correlate chemistry and morphology with function.
We obtained important results:
We designed and synthesized an organic molecule tailored for providing rigid pillaring of graphene oxide (GO). With this molecule we successfully functionalized GO, providing a new material with increased interlayer spacing between the GO sheets. Pillaring of GO was able to increase considerably its specific surface area (SSA).
We also designed and synthesized a library of potential pillaring molecules which differ for their rigidity, size and electronic characteristics. These molecules will be tested to make a set of graphene-based pillared 3D materials.
Current research activities are focused on:
- the synthesis of graphene-based 3D materials using pillaring molecules that have different size, shape, rigidity and electronic characteristics;
- the determination of SSA and hydrogen sorption capabilities of these new materials (in collaboration with A. Talyzin, Umeå University and Graphene Flagship);
- with a continuous feedback mechanism, novel pillars will be designed to maximize the material’s hydrogen sorption capabilities.
Connection with Graphene Flagship project
Researcher – Gas Storage Task
Project leaders - Synthesis of graphene based 3D mesostructures exploiting pillaring with organic molecules.
Quantum dot solar cells - Iwan Moreels’group
Quantum dot solar cells offer the possibility of low-cost, solution processed energy generation on a variety of scalable platforms. In these solar cells, graphene can be added both as a novel, flexible electrode or as thin protective film to enhance the stability of the devices.
In our work, we fabricate solution-processed PbS quantum dot solar cells. To maintain a solution processed strategy, we work with reduced graphene oxide (rGO), a graphene-based material that can be dispersed in a variety of solvents. Next to rGO, the integration of different transition metal dichalcogenide dispersions is also tested.
Recently, we demonstrated the synthesis of quantum dot – rGO hybrid materials, combining different semiconductors nanocrystals with rGO via short organic linkers. These materials pave the way for integration of PbS-rGO into PbS quantum dot solar cell. Currently, we are fabricating devices and are working on the optimization of the power conversion efficiency.