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Charles M. Lukehart

Lukehart

Research

Nanocomposite Materials
The Lukehart group discovers and develops new synthesis strategies for the preparation of inorganic materials that exhibit desired chemical reactivity or interesting physical properties. There is a special focus on the preparation of nanocomposite materials in which nanoparticles of a guest substance are highly dispersed either on a solid support or throughout a solid matrix. For many applications, single-source molecular precursors are used to control the elemental composition of nanoparticle substances. Instrumental methods used by the Lukehart group for the characterization of the resulting nanocomposite materials include transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), powder x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning probe microscopy, thermogravimetric, surface-area analysis, and property-specific measurements.

Specific research projects under active investigation include the following:

  • Extending Confined-Plume Chemical Deposition to the use of available table-top lasers as a synthesis method for preparing very hard or superhard ceramic coatings or metal nanoparticles directly on hard or soft supports.
  • Use of single-source or dual-source molecular precursors for the synthesis of metal or metal alloy/carbon nanocomposites for testing as supported catalysts in PEM fuel cells.
  • Use of single-source or dual-source molecular precursors for the synthesis of superparamagnetic or ferromagnetic nanoparticles.
  • Synthesis of graphitic carbon nanofibers (GCNFs) materials including GCNF pellets, GCNF/Si wafer mats, superhydrophobic GCNF/carbon felt mats, and metal/GCNF intercalates.
  • Synthesis and characterization of graphitic carbon nanofiber and nanodiamond hybrid nanocomposite materials in which surface-modified GCNFs and nanodiamond particles, including polymer brushes, are covalently incorporated into organic polymer or ceramic matrices or function as senors.