Imagine a material that can absorb energy from impact or vibration and turn it into electricity. This is becoming reality in our laboratories, by creating engineered nanocomposites. The piezoelectric effect of barium titanate nanoparticles is exploited in an epoxy resin doped with carbon nanatubes. While under impact the nanoparticles generate voltages (transforming mechanical energy into electrical power), the energy is transported into the composite due to the electrical condutivity of the nanotubes. This energy can be collected and stored in batteries, turning an impact of vibration into an alternative energy source. Several prototypes have been synthesized in our lab, trying to find the perfect chemistry of nanostructures that allow maximum charge transfer and impact damping. The picture to the left shows a prototype of the this material as a case for mobile phone. Maybe next time you drop your phone, you'll be charging it! This technology has applications in armors, cars, and any vehicle subjected to impacts or vibration, and allows energy harvesting to be storaged in batteries.
This project concerns the development of sensors based on tin dioxide nanoparticles. Doped films of tin oxide are deposited on a substrate produced by litography, as shown in the figure. The resistance of the film is monitored during exposure to the toxic gases. Surface engineering of the nanoparticle guarantee selectivity and sensitivity.
LiNiO2 finds application in lithium ion batteries as a cathode. Though the nanosized structures have shown a great potential in this material to improve Li exchanging kinetics, little is known about the thermodynamic equilibrium during application. In this project, nanoparticles of LiNiO2 were synthesized, and the stability under delithiation was studied by calorimetry. The instability of this compound is observed to increase dramatically, suggesting great limitations for technological applications. Alternatives to control this stability are bein considered in our research.
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