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The University of Southampton

Research project: Owen: Nanostructured Electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors

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The use of electrochemical deposition from lyotropic liquid crystalline phases has enabled us, in collaboration with Profs. Attard and Bartlett, to deposit films of metals such as platinum, palladium, nickel and cobalt containing regular arrays of cylindrical pores of nanometre dimension.

The diameters of the pores and the thickness of the metal walls between the pores can be controlled through the choice of surfactant template used in the deposition. This unique approach has great flexibility and can be applied to a wide range of materials giving films with unique physical properties. Our current work focuses both on the applications of these materials and on fundamental studies and is supported by both research council and industrial funding.

Our group has found that nanostructured battery electrodes can deliver unprecedented high power levels due to the large internal surface area and short solid state diffusion paths. This discovery was a key factor in the foundation of the University spin-out company, Nanotecture. More recent work has been directed toward nanostructured TiO2 for lithium batteries and the effects of ionic resistance in the composite electrode matrix.

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