The aces 3D Electromaterials theme will produce the materials and tools necessary for other aces themes to design and build next generation electrochemical devices.
Grand Challenge: Construct complex 3D structures with controlled element placement.
The 3D Electromaterials program takes on the challenge of developing high performance electromaterials that can be integrated into devices in macroscopic form while retaining the extraordinary properties discovered in the nano domain.
Additive Fabrication – the Additive Fabrication program produces complex 3D shapes using multiple materials with a resolution of tens of nanometres. A key aspect of this program is the incorporation of many of the recent advancements in fibres spinning of electro-active materials.
Modelling – the Modelling program develops and benchmarks theoretical methodologies for modelling 3D electromaterials. It informs experimental programs by assessing the behaviours and performance of materials, and can assist in identifying appropriate structural changes as required.
Characterisation – the Characterisation program maps device charge transfer and transport processes in 3D. The program focuses on developing customised ‘during assembly’ conductivity probes to monitor conductance (degree to which the object conducts electricity) and capacitance (ability to store an electric charge) as the structure is formed.
Our Strengths: This theme combines our world-renowned expertise in electromaterials development, with our expertise in additive fabrication, modelling and characterisation.
- To develop electromaterials that can reproduce in functional 3D devices the extraordinary properties discovered in the nano domain.
- To develop methods for the assembly of electromaterials into 3D systems and investigate the impact of structure on properties.
- To develop 3D fabrication machinery that enables complex structures over different length scales to be realised.
- To provide optimised materials for use in other ACES projects in energy, robotics, bionics and diagnostics.
- Integrated 3D electrodes.
- Contactless characterisation probes.
- Energy storage devices.
- Energy conversion devices.
- Prosthetic devices.
- In vitro cell stimulation platforms.
- Novel diagnostics.
The Project: New 2D materials for energy applications.
The Challenge: The team aims to develop highly effective catalytic materials that can be used for solar fuel production from carbon dioxide.
The Research: ACES researchers are looking to develop highly effective catalytic materials that will allow carbon dioxide to be converted (via C02 reduction) into a useful product that can be used as a new source of hydrocarbon fuels. The challenge is finding a material that can handle the amount of energy required to facilitate the chemical change, efficiently and cost-effectively. The team is starting with a material called molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) because of its high activity, excellent MoS2 to an extremely thin – two dimensional – layer. As it thins out, the electrocatalytic activity enhances significantly as it provides more access to the catalytically active sites on the plane and edges.
The Impact: Carbon dioxide is a common by-product of industrial processes and a significant greenhouse gas. Finding ways to reuse it will help to cut emissions, and in this case, help generate a clean fuel source. Two dimensional MoS2 also has potential application for use in electronics, optoelectronics, electrocatalysis, supercapacitors, batteries and solar cells.