Nicole Grobert's research group focuses on the synthesis, processing, and characterisation of novel carbon, boron nitride and other non-carbon based nanomaterials such as nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanofibres, nanorods, 2D nanomaterials, and multifunctional hierarchical nanostructures.
The Nanomaterials by Design research team develops new production processes and uses chemical vapour deposition, template routes, and wet-chemical techniques for the controlled manufacturing of nanomaterials. State-of-the-art in situ characterisation is critically important for elucidating the role of individual growth parameters for the controlled formation and the study of structure properties relationships of these new materials.
Close collaboration with a range of internationally leading industry partners plays a pivotal role for the implementation of tailored nanomaterials in end-user applications in the health-care or energy sectors.
Understanding the conversion mechanism and performance of monodisperse FeF2 nanocrystal cathodes.
Xiao, AW, Lee, HJ, Capone, I, Robertson, A, Wi, T-U, Fawdon, J, Wheeler, S, Lee, H-W, Grobert, N, Pasta, M
The application of transition metal fluorides as energy-dense cathode materials for lithium ion batteries has been hindered by inadequate understanding of their electrochemical capabilities and limitations. Here, we present an ideal system for mechanistic study through the colloidal synthesis of single-crystalline, monodisperse iron(II) fluoride nanorods. Near theoretical capacity (570 mA h g-1) and extraordinary cycling stability (>90% capacity retention after 50 cycles at C/20) is achieved solely through the use of an ionic liquid electrolyte (1 m LiFSI/Pyr1,3FSI), which forms a stable solid electrolyte interphase and prevents the fusing of particles. This stability extends over 200 cycles at much higher rates (C/2) and temperatures (50 °C). High-resolution analytical transmission electron microscopy reveals intricate morphological features, lattice orientation relationships and oxidation state changes that comprehensively describe the conversion mechanism. Phase evolution, diffusion kinetics and cell failure are critically influenced by surface-specific reactions. The reversibility of the conversion reaction is governed by topotactic cation diffusion through an invariant lattice of fluoride anions and the nucleation of metallic particles on semicoherent interfaces. This new understanding is used to showcase the inherently high discharge rate capability of FeF2.
Electrochemically active water repelling perfluorinated polyaniline films
Dallas, P, Tomšík, E, Sang Jones, R, Xiao, A, Milnes-Smith, E, Grobert, N, Porfyrakis, K
The application of the surface energy based solubility parameter theory for the rational design of polymer-functionalized MWCNTs.
Quijano Velasco, P, Porfyrakis, K, Grobert, N
Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP
The surface energy based solubility parameters theory was applied to model the degree of polystyrene-functionalisation of MWCNTs in six different organic solvents. The experimental characterization of the polymer-functionalized MWCNTs is consistent with the predictions of this model providing a breakthrough towards the rational design of functionalized MWCNTs based on thermodynamic parameters.