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Applicant: Tianyu Liu / Mentored Research Experience Course

Chem 179 Nanomaterials for Energy Storage Devices

Official Syllabus
Basic Information
Instructor: Tianyu Liu (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Faculty advisor: Yat Li (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Course schedule:
Lecture: Once a week (Except week #6 and #9); ~1 hour; Focus on introduction of background,
basic concepts and techniques for each weeks lab.
Mon 12:30 pm 1:40 pm, Jack Baskin Engineering 169
Lab: Once a week (week #6 has two); 4-8 hours (depends on specific research assignment);
Two lab sections (must enroll in MyUCSC portal)
Presentation: week #5 (Midterm) and week #9 (Final)
Special session: (week #9, introduction and demonstration of scanning electron microscopy)
Office hour: one hour per week (TBA) or by appointment

This course aimed at:
1) Providing students the state-of-art knowledge about the material research for charge storage
devices (e.g., supercapacitors);
2) Practicing students skills in reading scientific publications, finding research topics, presenting
ideas and results for fellow scientists and writing scientific journal papers;
3) Presenting additional/supplementary information to help students better understand
electrochemistry learned in general chemistry (Chem 1C), thermodynamics (Chem 163B) as well as
extensional lab practice for advanced physical chemistry lab (Chem 146C);
4) Equipping students with hands-on experience in nanomaterials synthesis, physical methods for
materials characterization, device fabrication and measurements for research or jobs related to
energy technology.

This course will start with introduction of clean energy research and then focuses specifically on a
new energy storage device, supercapacitors. Supercapacitor is a family of electrochemical capacitor
that store energy by electric double layer (electric double layer supercapacitor) or chemical reaction
between electrolyte and electrode (pseudo-capacitor). It can charge and discharge faster than
conventional batteries and has already been used in hybrid vehicles. Intensive researches have been
carried out recently to make this device suitable for solar energy storage.

In the first week, students will learn basic concepts in supercapacitor-based research field and
prepare for the following research work. Then in the following three weeks, students will be
instructed to synthesize two common but different materials for supercapacitors and practice the
basic performance evaluation techniques. These lectures and labs help student to acquire
fundamental knowledge and lab skill required by research related to supercapacitor application.
In the midterm, each group will present one creative design for supercapacitor electrode based on
what they learned and literature survey. In the next two weeks, each group will be guided to conduct

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Applicant: Tianyu Liu / Mentored Research Experience Course

their own research based on their proposals determined in the midterm week. Scanning electron
microscope will be introduced to students and used to characterize the nanomaterials synthesized by
students. Finally, each group will present a final presentation regarding their supercapacitor device
and complete a take-home exam.

Evaluated Assignments

1st and 2nd lab report: 15% each (~10 pages each, 30% total)
Each lab report deals with specific lab research work done in previous weeks. Each student should
write their own reports. The report should include at least five parts, i) introduction/background of
the research topic, ii) summary of experimental method and mechanism; iii) data analysis and
discussion; iv) conclusion; and v) references. Instructor will grade all lab reports and send them
back to students in the next week. Students will have two weeks to finish each report.

Two presentations: 10% each (20% total)

Each group presents one presentation (~20 min) in the midterm exam and one presentation (~25
min) in the final exam. See week-by-week schedule for details.

Final lab report: 35% (~15 pages)

Each student should turn in one final lab report. The final lab report should contain detailed
introduction about supercapacitors and accurate evaluation of their own supercapacitor devices. The
report should include at least five parts, i) introduction/background of the research topic, ii)
summary of experimental method and mechanism; iii) data analysis and discussion; iv) conclusion;
and v) references. Instructor will grade all lab reports and send them back to students in the next
week. Students will have three weeks to finish this report.

Lab effectiveness: 5%
The evaluation is based on students performance in active participation and collaborative spirit
with partners during all lab sections.

Take-home exam: 10%

Each student has one week to finish this exam. All questions are based on recently published papers
on supercapacitors. This exam is aimed at testing students comprehensive understanding about
concepts introduced in lecture and techniques practiced in lab sections. Students are welcome to
discuss among classmates, use library and internet but should not directly ask instructor or class
advisor for answers before due date. Keys will be posted in eCommons after all works are received.

Week-by-week Outline
===Subject to Change (refer to every weeks announcement)===
Week #1: Preparation
Syllabus and class policy
Clean energy researches introduction: photo-electrochemical water splitting, solar cell,
fuel cell, lithium ion battery and supercapacitor
General description about supercapacitors: working mechanism, common electrode
materials for supercapacitors

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Applicant: Tianyu Liu / Mentored Research Experience Course

Group assignment
No lab section for the first week.
Week #2: Graphene electrode synthesis
Introduction on commercial supercapacitors
Progress on carbonaceous electrodes design in supercapacitors
Instruction on first lab report
Lab: (3 groups do the same job)
Lab safety training (read and sign review sheet)
Hydrothermal reaction to deposit graphene on nickel foam
Hydrothermal reaction to deposit carbon film on nickel foam
---------------------------------------First Lab Report Start--------------------------------------
Week #3: Graphene electrode performance test
Detailed introduction on testing methods: cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic charge and
discharge, electrochemical impedance spectrum etc.
Data analysis using softwares (Excel, Origin, Omega etc.)
Lab: (3 groups do the same job)
Additional instruction on preparation of supercapacitor electrodes for testing
Testing performance of the synthesized graphene electrode by using the CHI 660D
electrochemical workstation
Week #4: Pseudo-capacitive material synthesis and performance evaluation
Mechanism of pseudo-capacitance
Common pseudo-capacitive materials
Recent progress on pseudo-capacitive electrodes in supercapacitors
Lab: (3 groups do different jobs)
Electro-deposition method to synthesize different pseudo-capacitive materials:
Poly-pyrrole (conducting polymer for positive electrode, group #1)
Polyaniline (conducting polymer for positive electrode, group #2)
Manganese dioxide (metal oxide for positive electrode, group #3)
Performance characterization by using CHI 660D electrochemical workstation.
Literature survey and prepare for next weeks presentation
---------------------------------------First Lab Report Due--------------------------------------
-------------------------------------Second Lab Report Start------------------------------------
Week #5: Midterm presentation
Midterm Presentation:
Each group presents a creative design for supercapacitor electrode. The presentation
should contain at least motivation, synthesis method, and supporting information from
published works.
Each group drafts a proposal for the next two weeks lab sections (Instructor review
and approve before starting)
Class advisor visits and comments on presentations
No lab section in this week
Week #6: Experimental week
No lecture in this week

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Applicant: Tianyu Liu / Mentored Research Experience Course

Contents depending on each groups proposal
--------------------------------------Second Lab Report Due-------------------------------------
Week #7: Device assemble
Working mechanism of supercapacitor device
Two-electrode testing system
Evaluation for supercapacitor device
Instructions on device assemble and final lab report
Lab: (3 groups do the same job)
Symmetric device assembling based on electrodes synthesized in the previous weeks
Device performance evaluation: capacitance, ability to power LED lights, calculators
and electric watches.
--------------------------------------Final Lab Report Start-------------------------------------
Week #8: Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) special session
Mechanism of SEM imaging
Structure of SEM instrument
Other techniques widely used in characterization of nanomaterials in supercapacitors
(TEM, XRD, XPS, Raman etc.)
SEM demonstration:
Characterize samples synthesized in previous weeks. (Samples provided by students).
Demonstrator: Tom Yuzvinsky (from W.M. Keck Center for Nanoscale Optofluidics,
School of Jack Baskin Engineering)
Week #9: Final
Final Presentation:
Each group presents and comments on the performance of their supercapacitor
Presentation should involve concepts learned in all previous weeks.
Class advisor visits and comments on presentations.
No lab section in this week
--------------------------------------Take-Home Exam Start-------------------------------------
Week #10
Final course evaluation for each student
Q&A session
---------------------------------------Final Lab Report Due--------------------------------------
--------------------------------------Take-Home Exam Due--------------------------------------

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