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, environmentally friendly way of shaping materials for scientific and industrial applications. Our research ranges from tailoring surfaces/interfaces, improving energy efficiency of solar cells and batteries, biomaterials, nanomaterials, sensors and nano-composites to food sterilisation, agriculture, wastewater 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.
Desirable surfaces and interfaces are required for new materials.
Our focus has been on:
- tailoring surfaces/interfaces to meet customer requirements including smart functionalized coatings, soft/hard coatings and barrier coatings
- achieving controllable and selective functional groups, and surface structures
- avoiding surface/interface contamination using a custom-designed advanced plasma facility.
Liquid plasma is an exciting technology for applications in biomedicine, nanoscience, and agriculture. The challenge has been to achieve selectivity for the desired reactive species and efficient production of the required species in liquid for specific applications. We have developed a plasma gas bubble-in-liquid method using a nanosecond pulse generator with different gases and achieved high production of selectable reactive species. The new technology has been applied to milk sterilization, enhanced plant growth, wastewater treatment, and nanomaterial fabrication.
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+heat technology which combines plasma and thermal energy to fabricate doped functional nano-semiconductors. Several plasma sources have been designed to enable different types of nano-fabrication.
The challenges for producing stronger and lighter nano-composites are:
- The interface bonding between nanomaterial 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 without affecting the structure of nanomaterials. We have also developed a novel plasma method that combines advantages of continuous wave plasma and pulsed plasma for surface functionalization of nanomaterials.
Our research in textile applications ranges from anti-pilling of wool knitwear, through electronic textiles, carbon fibre sizing, to super-hydrophobic textiles.