Research activities in the LRG Lab focus on enhancing the performance of energy conversion, transmission, and storage devices through the use of nanomaterials. Specific interests include the development of high capacity anode and cathode active materials for lithium ion batteries as well as engineering novel device architectures using carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Recently, the group has utilized CNTs as a novel electrode support or conductive additive to increase the energy density and thermal stability of lithium ion batteries. Combined efforts have led to recent publications detailing the benefits and designs towards a 250-300 Wh/kg energy density, which is ~50% increase over state of the art. A second research area has focused on fabricating and improving the electrical conductivity of bulk CNT wires and cables for power and data transmission. Recently, the LRG lab established a method to fabricate high conductivity bulk (~0.1 – 1 mm in diameter) CNT wires and showed its tolerance to flexure and corrosive environments. These structures were applied for the first time to a coax cable with demonstrated weight savings of more than 50% compared to a conventional cable. The applied projects have been complemented by fundamental studies on CNT synthesis, electronic type separations, thermal and chemical stability, and material tolerance to harsh radiation environments. For example, in collaboration with the US Naval Research Laboratories, the LRG lab published the first comprehensive study on the radiation effects of electronic type-separated SWCNT thin films and developed an empirical model for nanostructured carbon including graphene.
We gratefully acknowledge support from the US Government, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Air Force Research Labs, and NYSERDA.