Synthesis and Characterization of 3D Carbon Nanotube Solid Networks
Project Sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
Nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes have become the face of new and emerging technologies. However, the exceptional properties of individual nanostructures, such as nanotubes, have not been translated into key applications partly due to the challenges in controllably creating three dimensional (3D) architectures. The fundamental problem here is the difficulty in introducing atomic scale junctions between individual nanoscale elements so that they can be organized as covalently bonded nanostructured networks with controllable physical characteristics, such as density, porosity and interfacial bonding. This MURI program is aimed at creating solid materials by the controlled assembly and atomic scale bonding of nanoscale elements, thereby leading to network solids with remarkably improved thermo-electro-mechanical properties when compared to randomly assembled nanostructures. Various approaches will be used to achieve strong interfaces between nanoscale building blocks that result in 3D nanostructured solids having exceptional properties. Combining experimental techniques and state of the art characterization methods, hierarchically nanostructured materials will be created and their thermo-electrical-mechanical properties will be evaluated in synergy with theoretical predictions. The program plans to develop a deep understanding of the structure-property relations in 3D nanostructured materials and tailor them for several applications.