Sol-gel deprived, 3D porous nanostructures designed for applications in energy storage, catalysis, and as conductive materials



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Porous materials are of particular interest in the materials science community due to their unique ability to interact with atoms, ions, and molecules on both their surface and internal network. Additionally, porous materials have attracted an overwhelming amount of attention in the field of separation, drug delivery adsorption, and catalysis due to their narrow pore size distribution and defined pore structure. Chapters 2-4 of this dissertation detail the preparation and characterization of porous materials used in a host of applications including as energy storage materials, photocatalytic materials for wastewater remediation, and as conductive materials, respectively. For example, Chapter 2 details the first report of the synthesis of binary zinc cobaltite, ZnCo2O4, aerogels prepared from the epoxide addition method. Through modulation of the surface morphology and the internal network, zinc cobaltite aerogels of relatively high-specific capacitance were produced and used as potentially viable electrode based supercapacitor materials.
Chapter 3 moves the focus onto the preparation and application of nanocomposites containing ZnO and SnO2. These composites were successfully prepared without the use of a template or supporting matrix. The nanoparticles exhibit high potential for application as a photocatalyst for wastewater remediation. In Chapter 4, the investigation moved toward the design of a porous, conductive indium tin oxide (ITO) framework. The prepared ITO frameworks possessed an interconnected, stable network of appreciable electrical conductivity.
Finally, in chapter 5, preliminary work toward preparation of macroporous materials is presented. In keeping with the theme, the traditional, general synthetic approach is employed. However, in this chapter, the macroporous network is the achieved via hybridization of a colloidal crystal templating method with the epoxide addition, sol-gel method to produce three dimensionally ordered, hierarchical porous materials.



Sol-gel, Porous, Energy storage, Photocatalysis, Electrically conductive, Hierarchical materials