Nanotechnology and Plasma Technology
Nanotechnology research at Deakin University is focused on developing novel nanomaterials and using nanotechnology to solve some of today's challenges in energy storage (batteries and supercapacitors), environmental protection and health and medical issues.
Plasma is an exciting new way of shaping materials for scientific and industrial applications. The plasma research group at IFM includes expertise in plasma physics and chemistry, materials science and engineering, biology, measurement and characterisation. Projects range from improving the efficiency of solar cells and batteries, biomaterials, food sterilisation, agriculture, sensors and nano-fabrication to waste-water treatment and electronic textiles.
The use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials are key approaches to improve the performance of energy storage technologies. We are using our experience in nanomaterials synthesis and applications to develop new electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors. Some examples are: Li-ion batteries for electrical vehicles; nanostructured electrodes for Li-ion batteries; supercapacitors with high power density for energy storage and backup.
Nanotechnology research has a range of applications in areas as diverse as environmental protection and healthcare. Our research focuses on
- Water resource protection by removing solvents, dyes and other contaminants
- Cleaning up oil spills on land and water
- Drug delivery
Research in the area of one- and two-dimensional nanomaterials is advancing rapidly with potentially huge benefits for clean energy, environmental protection and medical sciences.
Our group has extensive research expertise in boron nitride nanotubes; synthesis of nanoparticles, nanotubes and nanowires, nanosheets and nanocomposites.
The challenge here is to be able to reliably produce surfaces and interfaces with the desired characteristics and to understand the mechanism of plasma in liquid.
We have achieved a controllable and selectable surface functionalization using an improved gas/vapour plasma system. Now we are developing liquid plasma technology using a nanosecond pulsed generator at atmospheric pressure for specific biomedical applications and fabrication of micro/nano-devices.
Our main focus has been on producing functional nano-semiconductors as electrodes to improve the efficiency of energy devices. We have developed a unique plasma + thermal technology which combines plasma and thermal energy to fabricate nano-semiconductors. Several plasma sources have been designed to enable different types of nano-fabrication.
The challenges for producing stronger and lighter composites are:
- The interface bonding between nanomaterials and matrix
- A uniform dispersion of the nanomaterials
We have developed a stirring plasma technology to address the challenges of achieving uniform dispersion with a high density of functional groups and easy handling. We have also developed a novel plasma method that combines advantages of both continuous wave plasma and pulsed plasma for surface functionalisation of nanomaterials, especially nanotubes.
Our research in textile applications includes:
- Anti-pilling of wool knitwear
- Electronic textiles
- Wastewater treatment
- Carbon fibre sizing