Digitalizing a Chemical Vapor Deposition Process for Making Polymer Supercapacitors

Technical drawing
CVD process for making conducting polymer supercapacitors. (a) CVD approach for directly growing polyaniline on carbon supercapacitor electrodes. (b) Cyclic voltammetry shows a boost in energy capacity with adding PANI to the carbon supercapacitor. (c) Complex CVD deposition behavior that requires active process control of kinetics and adsorption.

Project Description

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a process widely used in the manufacturing of electronic and energy devices as it is able to form conducting, semiconducting and dielectric thin films. Here, in the Lau lab, we have discovered a solvent-free CVD approach to make conducting polymers like polyaniline (PANI) that have the ability to boost the energy density in carbon supercapacitors. Currently, the process is manually controlled through active user input as the complex process requires a delicate control of polymerization kinetics and monomer adsorption at the substrate surface. The REU project aims to engage an undergraduate student with a strong interest in engineering automated controls and digitalizing the CVD process in order to more efficiently understand the role of processing in impacting resulting polymer deposition and enhancing supercapacitor device performance further.

Research Goals

  • Implement an automated LabVIEW system to monitor, record, and control the CVD process parameters
  • Use a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) to monitor and record the polymer mass gain
  • Use cyclic voltammetry and galvanostatic charge-discharge to electrochemically evaluate polymer supercapacitor device behavior

Learning Goals

  • How to make polymer pseudocapacitors using the CVD approach
  • How to obtain and analyze experimental data to understand reaction kinetics
  • How to correlate experimental data to form appropriate processing-property relationships

Groups Conducting Research

Thin Films & Devices Lab -