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Exploring Motion of Water and Ions in Carbon Nanotubes
10: Chemical Engineering
The development of new materials for energy storage, energy conversion, and chemical separations is a huge challenge today, with the possibility to reduce societal greenhouse emissions over the coming decades. In this project, you will work on one exciting class of material – carbon nanotubes – which are around 1 nm in diameter and confine water and ions often to single-file lines. By achieving this sort of confinement, water and ion structures change, water melts and boils at different temperature, and the flow rate of water through these conduits is orders of magnitude higher than can be predicted. All of these physical phenomena make carbon nanotubes highly attractive for use in membranes for water desalination and chemical purification. While the project is quite open-ended, and I look forward to developing a series of experiments in more detail with you as we go forward, at first you will grow carbon nanotubes through chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and characterize whether they are filled or empty using Raman spectroscopy, a laser-based technique. Your main focus will be to help build a new experimental setup and develop new protocols to make electrical measurements of carbon nanotubes, with the goal of combining several different experimental techniques together to achieve better understanding of ion transport in carbon nanotubes than has been seen before. You will have the opportunity to interact with many graduate students and postdocs in a large, interdisciplinary lab; learn important laboratory techniques for chemical engineering and materials characterization including Raman spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, chemical vapor deposition, scanning electron microscopy, and more; and work on a project and in a lab with connections to energy, water purification, the environment, and nanotechnology. If you are interested, please send me an email and we can arrange a meeting!
1) Interest in growing and testing new nanomaterials for energy applications 2) Basic programming in Matlab is preferred 3) Advanced coursework or research in chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science, or a related field -- including heat transfer and fluid mechanics -- is preferred