Deakin Research

Institute for Frontier Materials

Plasma research

Energy (from generation to storage)

The challenge in the field is the efficiency. To produce functional nanosemiconductors as electrodes has been the main focus for us to improve the efficiency of energy devices. A unique Plasma + Thermal technology has been developed. This system combines plasma and thermal energy to fabricate nanosemiconductors. Several plasma sources have been designed to enable different types of nano-fabrication.
Three key strategies to this approach are:
  1. nano-structuring (to increase surface area) including by top down (plasma etching) and bottom up (nanomaterial growth), as well as in combination with electro-chemical and chemical methods
  2. element doping (to reduce band-gap and to produce multi-functional materials)
  3. surface cleaning/functionalization

More details on our Energy research (809 KB)

Nanomaterials/composites (for the transport industry)

The challenges for producing stronger and lighter composites are:
  1. the interface bonding between nanomaterials and matrix
  2. a uniform dispersion of the nanomaterials.
We have developed a stirring plasma technology to address the challenges of achieving uniform treatment 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 (CW) plasma and pulsed plasma for surface functionalization of nanomaterials, especially nanotubes, where we have:
  1. achieved higher levels of required surface functional groups with strong bonding to the nanotube surface
  2. avoided damage to the tube surface, keeping the integrity of the materials intact
  3. achieved uniform dispersion in composites

More details on our Nanomaterials/Composites research (541 KB)

Biomedicine (from biocompatible surfaces to biosensors)

Our targets in biomedical applications are mainly:
  1. producing biocompatible surfaces/interfaces
  2. biosensors including a microcantilever aptasensor
  3. developing novel nanotuboids that can be used in drug delivery and sensing applications

The challenge in the field is to to be able to reliably produce surfaces and interfaces with the desired characteristics.

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.

More details on our Biomedicine research (403 KB)

Textile industry applications

The research in textile industry applications includes:
  1. anti-pilling of wool knitwear
  2. electronic textiles
  3. wastewater treatment
Our new approaches to address the different challenges in these areas include:
  1. Development of a novel 3-step plasma treatment, activation first, then functionalization, followed by pulsed plasma polymerization. A substantial improvement in pilling performance has been achieved using this method
  2. A systematic study has been conducted to understand how and why the conductivity and durability of a conducting polymer coated on textiles can be improved
  3. Development of nanosecond pulsed atmospheric pressure plasma technology to integrate pulsed electric field, UV radiation, O3, and free radicals in one go for wastewater purification and surface treatment. It has shown very promising results for textile wastewater treatment both in the bleaching of dye liquors and reducing total organic carbon content

More details on our Textile industry applications research (213 KB)

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20th February 2013