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Our investigation of the interaction of metal hydrides and complex metal hydrides with carbon nanostructures (C60, CNT’s, etc.) has demonstrated that these composites can reversibly interact with hydrogen. This interaction leads to new materials in which the desorption/absorption of hydrogen occurs at temperatures and pressures well below the individual precursor components. In particular we focused on the role that C60 played in the reversible hydrogenation of NaAlH4, LiAlH4, and LiBH4. Through a series of spectroscopic analysis of these materials, we determined that a reaction occurs between the complex metal hydride and C60 to produce a metal-doped fullerene. This finding suggested that simple metal hydrides (i.e. LiH) can be used to make large quantities of alkali-doped fullerenes via solvent-assisted mixing and annealing. In the Mx-C60-Hy materials, the active hydrogen storage material resembles a metal-doped fullerane (hydrogenated fullerene).
After this finding, we began to examine some of the other chemical and physical properties (other than hydrogen storage) of this unique class of materials in order to determine if they can be applied for use in other energy storage and conversion applications. Owing to our ability to judiciously control the metal doping as well as hydrogen content of these materials, we are able to fine-tune the properties of the material based on these components depending upon the application. For example, this led us to discover that there was a remarkable enhancement in lithium ion mobility in LiBH4-C60 nanocomposites observed at room temperature. Additional applications of these materials in other energy storage and conversion devices is currently being investigated.
This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division.
The following publications from our group also utilized the Hiden RGA system and is described in the experimental section or supporting information for the publication.
 J. Phys. Chem. C, 2014, 118, 21755-21761  J. Phys. Chem. C, 2013, 117, 22569-22575  J. Alloys Compd. 2013, 580, S364-S367  Nanotechnology 2013, 24, 455601
 Nano Lett. 2012, 12, 582-589
 J. Alloys Compd. 2011, 509, S562-S566
Project Summary by:
Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29801, USA
Ragaiy Zidan et al. (2013) “Comparative study of reversible hydrogen storage in alkali-doped fulleranes” Journal of Alloys and Compounds 280 (1) S364-S367
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