Invited by Key Laboratory of Photochemical Conversion and Optoelectronic Materials, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry (TIPC), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Liming Dai from Case Western Reserve University visited TIPC on June. 10 and gave an academic report entitled Carbon Nanomaterials as Metal-free Catalysts for Energy Conversion and Storage.
It is estimated that the world will need to double its energy supply by 2050. With the rapid increase in the global energy consumption, there is a pressing need for clean and renewable energy alternatives. Polymers have been traditionally used as electrically insulating materials: after all, metal wires are coated in plastics to insulate them. Various conjugated macromolecules with alternating single and double bonds can now be synthesized with unusual electrical and optical properties through the ?-electron delocalization along their 1D backbones. Due to the molecular rigidity of conjugated backbones, however, most unfunctionalized conjugated polymers are intractable (i.e., insoluble and/or infusible). Nevertheless, a number of synthetic methods have been devised to produce conjugated polymers with the processing advantages of plastics and the optoelectronic properties of inorganic semiconductors for optoelectronic device applications, including polymer photovoltaic cells.
In the report,Prof. Liming Dai summarized his work on rational design and development of multi-dimensional conjugated polymers and graphitic carbon nanomaterials for efficient energy conversion and storage, including polymer solar cells containing graphitic carbon nanomaterials for improved charge transport, fuel cells and metal-air batteries with carbon nanomaterials/polymers as metal-free catalysts for oxygen reduction and evolution, and flexible supercapacitors based on CNT-/graphene-based electrodes for energy storage. A brief overview of this exciting field, along with some challenges and opportunities, was also be presented.
Liming Dai joined Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in fall 2009 as the Kent Hale Smith Professor in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. He is also director of the Center of Advanced Science and Engineering for Carbon (CASE4Carbon). Dr. Dai’s expertise lies across the synthesis, chemical modification and device fabrication of conjugated polymers and carbon nanomaterials for energy-related and biomedical applications.