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Author ORCID ID is 0000000339254174
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  1. Mesostructured matter composed of colloidal nanocrystals in solidified architectures abounds with broadly tunable catalytic, magnetic, optoelectronic, and energy storing properties. Less common are liquid-like assemblies of colloidal nanocrystals in a condensed phase, which may have different energy transduction behaviors owing to their dynamic character. Limiting investigations into dynamic colloidal nanocrystal architectures is the lack of schemes to control or redirect the tendency of the system to solidify. We show how to solidify and subsequently reconfigure colloidal nanocrystal assemblies dimensionally confined to a liquid-liquid interface. Our success in this regard hinged on the development of competitive chemistries anchoring or releasing themore » nanocrystals to or from the interface. With these chemistries, it was possible to control the kinetic trajectory between quasi–two-dimensional jammed (solid-like) and unjammed (liquid-like) states. In future schemes, it may be possible to leverage this control to direct the formation or destruction of explicit physical pathways for energy carriers to migrate in the system in response to an external field.« less
  2. The family of diamine-appended metal–organic frameworks exemplified by compounds of the type mmen–M 2(dobpdc) (mmen = N,N'-dimethylethylenediamine; M = Mg, Mn, Fe, Co, Zn; dobpdc 4- = 4,4'-dioxidobiphenyl-3,3'-dicarboxylate) are adsorbents with significant potential for carbon capture, due to their high working capacities and strong selectivity for CO 2 that stem from a cooperative adsorption mechanism. Herein, we use first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations to quantitatively investigate the role of mmen ligands in dictating the framework properties. Our van der Waals-corrected DFT calculations indicate that electrostatic interactions between ammonium carbamate units significantly enhance the CO 2 binding strength relative tomore » the unfunctionalized frameworks. Additionally, our computed energetics show that mmen–M 2(dobpdc) materials can selectively adsorb CO 2 under humid conditions, in agreement with experimental observations. The calculations further predict an increase of 112% and 124% in the orientationally-averaged Young's modulus E and shear modulus G, respectively, for mmen–Zn 2(dobpdc) compared to Zn 2(dobpdc), revealing a dramatic enhancement of mechanical properties associated with diamine functionalization. Taken together, our calculations demonstrate how functionalization with mmen ligands can enhance framework gas adsorption and mechanical properties.« less
  3. Many forward-looking clean-energy technologies hinge on the development of scalable and efficient membrane-based separations. Ongoing investment in the basic research of microporous materials is beginning to pay dividends in membrane technology maturation. Specifically, improvements in membrane selectivity, permeability, and durability are being leveraged for more efficient carbon capture, desalination, and energy storage, and the market adoption of membranes in those areas appears to be on the horizon. Herein, an overview of the microporous materials chemistry driving advanced membrane development, the clean-energy separations employing them, and the theoretical underpinnings tying membrane performance to membrane structure across multiple length scales is provided.more » The interplay of pore architecture and chemistry for a given set of analytes emerges as a critical design consideration dictating mass transport outcomes. Also discussed are opportunities and outstanding challenges in the field, including high-flux 2D molecular-sieving membranes, phase-change adsorbents as performance-enhancing components in composite membranes, and the need for quantitative metrologies for understanding mass transport in heterophasic materials and in micropores with unusual chemical interactions with analytes of interest.« less
  4. Polymer binders in battery electrodes may be either active or passive. This distinction depends on whether the polymer influences charge or mass transport in the electrode. Though it is desirable to understand how to tailor the macromolecular design of a polymer to play a passive or active role, design rules are still lacking, as is a framework to assess the divergence in such behaviors. We reveal the molecular-level underpinnings that distinguish an active polyelectrolyte binder designed for lithium-sulfur batteries from a passive alternative. The binder, a cationic polyelectrolyte, is shown to both facilitate lithium-ion transport through its reconfigurable network ofmore » mobile anions and restrict polysulfide diffusion from mesoporous carbon hosts by anion metathesis, which we show is selective for higher oligomers. These attributes then allow cells to be operated for > 100 cycles with excellent rate capability using cathodes with areal sulfur loadings up to 8.1 mg cm -2 .« less
    Cited by 20Full Text Available
  5. Intermittent energy sources, including solar and wind, require scalable, low-cost, multi-hour energy storage solutions in order to be effectively incorporated into the grid. All-Organic non-aqueous redox-flow batteries offer a solution, but suffer from rapid capacity fade and low Coulombic efficiency due to the high permeability of redox-active species across the battery's membrane. In this paper, we show that active-species crossover is arrested by scaling the membrane's pore size to molecular dimensions and in turn increasing the size of the active material above the membrane's pore-size exclusion limit. When oligomeric redox-active organics (RAOs) were paired with microporous polymer membranes, the ratemore » of active-material crossover was reduced more than 9000-fold compared to traditional separators at minimal cost to ionic conductivity. This corresponds to an absolute rate of RAO crossover of less than 3 μmol cm -2 day -1 (for a 1.0 m concentration gradient), which exceeds performance targets recently set forth by the battery industry. Finally, this strategy was generalizable to both high and low-potential RAOs in a variety of non-aqueous electrolytes, highlighting the versatility of macromolecular design in implementing next-generation redox-flow batteries.« less
    Cited by 16Full Text Available
  6. Bicontinuous jammed emulsions (or bijels) are tortuous, interconnected structures of two immiscible liquids, kinetically trapped by colloidal particles that are irreversibly bound to the oil–water interface. A wealth of applications has been proposed for bijels in catalysis, energy storage and molecular encapsulation, but large domain sizes (on the order of 5 µm or larger) and difficulty in fabrication pose major barriers to their use. In this paper, we show that bijels with sub-micrometre domains can be formed via homogenization, rather than spinodal decomposition. We achieve this by using nanoparticle surfactants: polymers and nanoparticles of complementary functionality (for example, ion-pairing) thatmore » bind to one another at the oil–water interface. This allows the stabilization of the bijel far from the demixing point of the liquids, with interfacial tensions on the order of 20 mN m -1. Finally, furthermore, our strategy is extremely versatile, as solvent, nanoparticle and ligand can all be varied.« less
    Cited by 14Full Text Available
  7. Nonaqueous redox flow batteries (NRFBs) represent an attractive technology for energy storage from intermittent renewable sources. In these batteries, electrical energy is stored in and extracted from electrolyte solutions of redox-active molecules (termed catholytes and anolytes) that are passed through an electrochemical flow cell. To avoid battery self-discharge, the anolyte and catholyte solutions must be separated by a membrane in the flow cell. This membrane prevents crossover of the redox active molecules, while simultaneously allowing facile transport of charge-balancing ions. A key unmet challenge for the field is the design of redox-active molecule/membrane pairs that enable effective electrolyte separation whilemore » maintaining optimal battery properties. Herein, we demonstrate the development of oligomeric catholytes based on tris(dialkylamino)cyclopropenium (CP) salts that are specifically tailored for pairing with size-exclusion membranes composed of polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs). Systematic studies were conducted to evaluate the impact of oligomer size/structure on properties that are crucial for flow battery performance, including cycling stability, charge capacity, solubility, electron transfer kinetics, and crossover rates. These studies have led to the identification of a CP-derived tetramer in which these properties are all comparable, or significantly improved, relative to the monomeric counterpart. Finally, a proof-of-concept flow battery is demonstrated by pairing this tetrameric catholyte with a PIM membrane. After 6 days of cycling, no crossover is detected, demonstrating the promise of this approach. Finally, these studies provide a template for the future design of other redox-active oligomers for this application.« less
  8. Despite the availability of chemistries to tailor the pore architectures of microporous polymer membranes for chemical separations, trade-offs in permeability and selectivity with functional group manipulations nevertheless persist, which ultimately places an upper bound on membrane performance. We introduce a new design strategy to uncouple these attributes of the membrane. Key to our success is the incorporation of phase-change metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) into the polymer matrix, which can be used to increase the solubility of a specific gas in the membrane, and thereby its permeability. We further show that it is necessary to scale the size of the phase-change MOFmore » to nanoscopic dimensions, in order to take advantage of this effect in a gas separation. Our observation of an increase in solubility and permeability of only one of the gases during steady-state permeability measurements suggests fast exchange between free and chemisorbed gas molecules within the MOF pores. While the kinetics of this exchange in phase-change MOFs are not yet fully understood, their role in enhancing the efficacy and efficiency of the separation is clearly a compelling new direction for membrane technology.« less

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