We produce a range of nanofibers including carbon- and transition metal-based fibres through a method called electrospinning. In the electrospinning process a strong electric field is applied to the needle of a syringe containing a viscous precursor solution. The potential difference between the needle and a collector plate forces the liquid into charged fibres that electrostatically repel each other, forcing each other to thinner and thinner fibres as they fly. These are then attracted to the oppositely-charged collector plate, from which they can be gathered and processed with a number of methods to make metallic, oxide, carbonaceous, or materials that are combinations thereof.
Our nanofibers are being developed as electrodes for aluminium ion and redox flow batteries as well as for solar harvesting and catalytic gas diffusion layers in fuel cells. Their small size enhances their surface area, while their fibrous nature increases their conductivity, both of which are important for high current and catalytic efficiencies.
Thomas Nann Research group
University of Newcastle, Australia
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand