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GF05 - Functionalized materials for composites and energy applications

Motivation

Nanomaterials can offer a viable strategy to increase the energy conversion efficiency of current devices. E.g., in solar cells, the band gap engineering of semiconducting layered materials, organic semiconductors and nanocrystals can be exploited to optimize the light-to-electricity conversion efficiency (η). In Lithium-ion batteries, Li+ hosting nanomaterials can enhance energy density, lifetime and cyclability of electrodes. The exploitation of wet processes is of foremost importance both for large scale production and for the realization of printed devices, the latter in high demand in the photovoltaics market. Semiconducting nanocrystal-based solar cells have seen a tremendous and rapid increase in light-to-electricity conversion efficiency. E.g., PbS nanocrystal-based solar cells can reach η=4.8%, while novel hybrid organic-inorganic solar cells using perovskite nanocrystals as sensitizer can have η>15%. The combination of perovskite compounds with graphene and related materials (GRMs) could be a step forward toward the replacement of electronically disordered, low-mobility TiO2 nanoparticles in dye-sensitized solar cells. Similarly, batteries based on hybrid anode electrodes made of Si nanocrystals electronically interconnected with a hollow graphitized carbon nanofiber network have been recently developed. In this context, graphene, thanks to its electronic (i.e. high carrier mobility) and mechanical properties (i.e. flexibility) could provide a better network to both withstand large volume changes during the charge–discharge process and maintain efficient charge collection and transport.

This call topic targets the development of enabling technologies for the synthesis of hybrid GRM-based heterostructures usable as active materials. Projects should address both “reliable” and controllable heterostructures synthesis and their integration into energy devices. A test-bed validation of GRM-based composites in relevant environment is expected.
Complementarities are envisaged with WP9(Energy Applications), WP10(Nanocomposites), WP1(Materials). Consortia should have at least one industrial partner.

Objectives

  • Development of innovative GRMs that can improve the efficiency (e.g. light-to-electricity conversion efficiency, high specific capacity, cyclability, etc.) of energy conversion and storage devices.
  • The targeted devices are highly efficient solar cells and high cyclability batteries.

Impact

  • Enlarge and strengthen the impact of GRMs in energy applications.
  • Develop technological building blocks for the manufacturing of efficient and low-cost solar cells, as well as higher cyclability batteries, demonstrating benefits for industrial exploitation.
  • Promote the integration of new industrial partners within the Flagship.

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