Research
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Our research program centers around physical and chemical issues related to the development of new applications of micro- and nanotechnology. Leveraging our interest and expertise in materials, interfacial phenomena, electrochemistry, and nanostructures & self-assembly, we aim for fundamental and practical advances in a variety of applications.


Click the icons below for more information on each application.



Recent trends toward intermittent energy sources (e.g. wind and solar), advanced mobile devices and electric vehicles are placing increased demands on energy storage platforms. Electrochemical storage devices, in particular batteries and supercapacitors are two such devices with the potential to meet the energy storage demands of the future. Batteries are high energy capacity devices which store energy through redox reactions in the bulk material of the device. Supercapacitors are high power devices which store energy in the electrochemical double layer. We are currently developing and characterizing the performance of new materials for high-density energy storage and economically  viable photovoltaics.






High Surface Area Nanomaterials for Supercapacitors
We are investigating high surface area (i.e. high storage capacity) electrode materials including 
porous silicon nanowires grown from bulk silicon, silicon carbide nanowires,  and graphene. Current interest lies in understanding the relationship between synthesis conditions and material properties (e.g. conductance, porosity, and stability). Through this fundamental knowledge these materials will be optimized for use in supercapacitor devices. Future work is to include device design and on-chip integration for autonomous self-powering devices.
Research contact: Carlo


New Materials for High Temperature Energy Storage
Yttria-stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) has a high ionic conductivity at T > 400°C and is hence a promising solid electrolyte for high temperature energy storage. We are currently investigating the use of YSZ in conjunction with SiC nanowire or high surface area carbon electrodes for the development of high-temperature stable supercapacitors.
Research contact: Carlo 


Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide
Closing the carbon cycle by reducing carbon dioxide to liquid and gaseous fuels is one of the great technological challenges of our time. We are exploring the electrochemical and photoelectrochemical reduction of CO2 on metallic heterogeneous catalysts focusing on novel catalyst synthesis architecture to improve efficiency and product selectivity. This work is being done under the auspices of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.
Research contacts: Peter



Selected Publications

M. Vincent, M. Kim, Carlo Carraro, R. Maboudian, “Silicon Carbide Nanowires as Electrode Material for High-temperature Supercapacitor”, Proceedings of IEEE MEMS Conference, pp. 39-42, (2012).


F. Liu, A. Gutés,  I. Laboriante, C. Carraro, and R. Maboudian, "Graphitization of n-type polycrystalline silicon carbide for on-chip supercapacitor application", Appl. Phys. Lett. 99, 112104 (2011); also featured in the Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science and Technology, Vol. 24 (13), September 26, 2011.

G. Doerk, V. Radmilovic and R. Maboudian, "Branching induced faceting of Si nanotrees", Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 123117 (2010);
Selected for the Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science and Technology, Vol. 21 (15), April 12, 2010.

B. Hsia, N. Ferralis, D. Sensky, A. P. Pisano, C. Carraro, and R. Maboudian, "Epitaxial Graphene Growth on 3C–SiC(111)/AlN(0001)/Si(100)", Electrochem. Solid-State Lett., 14, K13-K15 (2011).

N. Ferralis, R. Maboudian, C. Carraro, "Determination of substrate pinning in epitaxial and supported graphene layers via Raman spectroscopy", Phys. Rev. B, 83, 081410 (2011).