A research team led by Gurpreet Singh from the Kansas State University is developing novel methods to synthesize and work with graphene-based carbon nanotubes, which pave the way to enhance the performance of rechargeable batteries and laser detectors.
The research team used nitrogen, carbon, boron and silicon for synthesizing its proprietary modified liquid polymer, a ceramic carbon nanotube material. It used a conventional microwave for heating the ingredients. According to Singh, this microwave process decreases the time needed for synthesizing a ceramic material by rapidly heating the ingredients within a few minutes.
At present, Singh’s team and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Laser Radiometry Team are involved in improving high-power industrial laser measurement methods. The university team has enhanced the current laser measurement process by fabricating a cone-shaped copper detector using the ceramic carbon nanotube composite material. Since a ceramic material can endure high temperatures, it safeguards the nanotubes, which then absorb the laser light to heat up the cone. The heated cone in turn heats a waterfall at the rear side of the detector. The rising water temperature can be measured to detect the laser energy.
Singh informed that his team is analyzing the material’s stability. After characterizing the material, the team will send the samples to NIST for testing.
In another project, Singh’s team is working on enhancing the performance of rechargeable batteries by using its ceramic carbon nanotube material. Rechargeable batteries made of this novel material will get benefits that include large storage capacity, lengthy operating life, ability to be recharged rapidly and ability to offer more amount of power in less time. The novel material is also capable of reversibly storing lithium. Preliminary study demonstrates that a battery’s capacity was increased two or three times by this material for high current. The material’s high thermodynamic stability helps it to endure longer cycles.
Singh's team is also involved in a project that uses ‘nano-fingers,’ which are sharp needles made of tungsten, to pick up and study carbon nanotubes and ceramic nanowires under an electron microscope.