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KL.01 - Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience 
April 21, 2014   7:00pm - 8:00pm

Carbon, with its variety of allotropes and forms, is the most versatile material and virtually any combination of mechanical, optical, electrical or chemical properties can be achieved by controlling its structure and surface chemistry. While graphite, carbon fibers, glassy carbon, activated carbons, carbon black and diamond are widely used nowadays, fullerenes (also polymerized, endohedral and exohedral fullerides), carbon onions (multi-shell fullerenes), nanotubes (dozens of varieties), whiskers, nanofibers, cones, nanohorns, nanodiamonds and other nanoscale carbons have been attracting much attention in the past 20–30 years. Graphene is the latest example and is now the most widely researched. There are already thousands of carbon nanomaterials to choose from, and we need different materials to meet a variety of performance requirements. It will be shown on an example of supercapacitor electrodes that 0D and 1D nanoparticles, such as onions and nanotubes, deliver very high power due to fast ion sorption/desorption on their outer surfaces. Two-dimensional graphene offers higher charge-discharge rates compared to porous carbons and high volumetric energy density. Three-dimensional porous activated, carbide-derived and templated carbon networks, having a high surface area and porosity in the Ångströms or nanometers range, can provide high energy density if the pore size is matched with the electrolyte ion size. Finally, carbon-based nanostructures further expand the range of nanomaterials available to us—recently discovered 2D transition metal carbides (MXenes) have already grown into a family with a dozen members in less than 3 years, and can challenge graphene in some applications.

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