Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Timothy S. Fisher

Second Advisor

Ronald G. Reifenberger

Committee Chair

Timothy S. Fisher

Committee Co-Chair

Ronald G. Reifenberger

Committee Member 1

James M. Caruthers

Committee Member 2

Timothy D. Sands


The need to store and use energy on diverse scales in a modern technological society necessitates the design of large and small energy systems, among which electrical energy storage systems such as batteries and capacitors have attracted much interest in the past several decades. Supercapacitors, also known as ultracapacitors, or electrochemical capacitors, with fast power delivery and long cycle life are complementing or even replacing batteries in many applications. The rapid development of miniaturized electronic devices has led to a growing need for rechargeable micro-power sources with high performance. Among different sources, electrochemical micro-capacitors or micro-supercapacitors provide higher power density than their counterparts and are gaining increased interest from the research and engineering communities. Rechargeable Li ion batteries with high energy and power density, long cycling life, high charge-discharge rate (1C - 3C) and safe operation are in high demand as power sources and power backup for hybrid electric vehicles and other applications.

In the present work, graphene-based graphene materials have been designed and synthesized for electrochemical energy storage applications, e.g., conventional supercapacitors (macro-supercapacitors), microsupercapacitors and lithium ion batteries. Factors influencing the formation and structure of graphitic petals grown by microwave plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition on oxidized silicon substrates were investigated through process variation and materials analysis. Insights gained into the growth mechanism of these graphitic petals suggest a simple scribing method can be used to control both the location and formation of petals on flat Si substrates. Transitional metal oxides and conducting polymers have been coated on the graphitic petal-based electrodes by facile chemical methods for multifunctional energy storage applications. Detailed electrochemical characterization (e.g., cyclic voltammetry and constant galvanostatic charge/discharge) has been carried out to evaluate the performance of electrodes.