11-12 February 2016 | Edinburgh
Speaker: Ali Mohraz, University of California, Irvine
Time: 10:30 - 11:15
Location: St Trinnean's Room

Abstract: Pressing energy demands for national security, distributed power, and portable technologies require the development of devices, such as next-generation batteries and supercapacitors, that can simultaneously deliver high power and energy densities.  In order to achieve this goal, the kinetics of ion and electron transport within the electrodes must be enhanced while maintaining a large capacity for energy storage. Therefore, the idealized electrode microstructure has been envisioned as a three-dimensional, co-continuous arrangement of percolating passages for efficient ion and electron transport that would also enable a large volumetric density of active materials.  Herein, we report a novel method to produce this distinctive microstructure through the use of soft matter templates derived from bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsion gels (bijels). These soft materials, which were recently discovered at the University of Edinburgh, inherently have a co-continuous microstructure where two interpenetrating fluid domains are kinetically arrested through jamming of particles at the fluid-fluid interface during spinodal decomposition. Bijels can be converted to electrolytically active composites with co-continuous internal microstructure through simple chemical post processing steps. In this talk, I will present composite electrodes that we have synthesized by this technique and demonstrate how their electrochemical characteristics can be tuned over a wide range, allowing for concurrent delivery of high energy and power. Further, I will discuss the broader applications of this new class of soft materials in electrochemical energy conversion and storage, sensing, catalysis, and tissue engineering, and our ongoing efforts in expanding the applications of bijels into these areas.