Our solar cells incorporate proteins complexes that bacteria use in photosynthesis. The incredibly high efficiency with which these reaction centres convert light into charge is being exploited. This project is funded by Premier Global, NSERC Strategic, NSERC Special Research Opportunities, and is in collaboration with Premier Global, J. Thomas Beatty's Group, and the Australian Centre for Electromaterials Science.
Supercapacitors offer incredibly high capacitance per unit mass - about 100 F in a cubic centimeter. We are investigating new nanostructured materials that promise to increase capacitance by an order of magnitude, while also greatly increasing power density, creating a portable storage device that has an energy density close to that of a battery and the incredibly high power output of a traditional capacitor. The work is funded by NSERC and Epod Solar. It is a collaboration between the Molecular Mechatronics group, the Wolf and MacLachlan groups in Chemistry, Carl Michal's team in Physics, and the Nanocomposites Group. Supercapacitors, also known as electrochemical double layer capacitors, use two highly porous electrodes (traditionally carbon powder or fibre), that are filled with a salt solution and connected in series through the electrolyte. Application of a voltage leads to ionic charging of the electrode pores. The nanometer spacing between the ions and the electrodes leads to very high capacitance per unit area, and the high porosity creates incredible volumetric capacitances. Applications include use in electric/hybrid vehicles, mobile electronic devices, fusion reactors, and distributed sensors.
Carbon Nanotube Actuation
Carbon nanotubes are well known for their incredibly high strength. It turns out that they can also be induced to expand and contract upon charging. We are investigating the actuation of carbon nanotube yarns, including the fundamental mechanisms and potential applications. The yarns actuate at forces that are 800 X larger than muscle per cross-sectional area. This work is funded by an NSERC Discovery grant, and is being performed in collaboration with Ray Baughman and the Nanotech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas.
We are developing a catheter that actively bends in response to applied voltage. This NSERC funded project in collaboration with Victor Yang's group at Ryerson University, and Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, seeks to demonstrate active catheters for use in accessing and locally imaging arteries within the heart.
Creating electronic circuits that are printable, low in cost and flexible is enabling electronic paper, flexible displays, printed radio frequency identification tags (RFID), and may make it possible to have distributed sensors on foodstuffs and in ventilation systems. We are designing and building polymer transistors that are printable, high in performance and low in voltage. The project is funded by the NSERC Idea to Innovation program. We are seeking industrial partners to bring this technology to market.