Facilities and Equipment

Dr. Smirnova Laboratory at CABS Department (South Dakota Mines)

Provides additional capabilities that complement a broad range of equipment for thin film deposition and morphological/mechanical/crystal structure characterization at South Dakota Mines.

The equipment (Fig.1) required for (1) “In-situ” sol-gel complex metal oxides synthesis (e.g. heating ovens, hot plates/stirring plates with precise temperature control, and Ultra Turrax® and ultrasonic homogenizers), (2) Chemical vapor deposition (CVD); (3) Semi-automatic screen printing, (4) Processing of the advanced 3D core-shell ceramic/metal architectures in supercritical water or in supercritical carbon dioxide, and (5) Hydrothermal biomass/lignin reforming are available in Dr. Smirnova’s research laboratory.
 Smirnova-Facilities 1
Fig. 1: (a) Installation for SCF deposition of metal or ceramic nanoparticles/thin films or biomass reforming available at Dr. Smirnova’s laboratory; (b) Syringe pumps operating with scCO2 and/or scH2O with a high pressure vessel (54 mL) (inset); (c) Schematics of a high-pressure vessel with: (1) Sapphire view window; (2, 3) Stainless steel mesh containers for organometallic precursor (2) and/or porous support (3); (4) Stainless steel mesh support; (5) Stir bar; (6) Stir/hot plate; (7) Stainless steel pressure vessel; (8, 9) Inlet and outlet; and (10) Thermocouple.

“In-situ” electrochemical characterization of the ceramic, carbon-based, and composite nanostructures is available at Dr. Smirnova’s Electrochemistry Laboratory recently established in a new Chemistry building (~40,000 sq. ft.) opened in 2011. Dr. Smirnova has dedicated research space in this new facility. This laboratory is the only one of its kind in South Dakota and has unique capabilities in terms of solar/ fuel cell/ supercapacitor/ battery R&D by using vast array of advanced electrochemical equipment. The electrochemical equipment for the study of transport and kinetic mechanisms in solid-state and carbon -based nanostructures include:

  1. 1260A AC Frequency Response Impedance analyzer from Princeton Research laboratory;
  2. AFCBP1 bipotentiostat/galvanostat with AMFSRCE modulated speed rotator for Rotating Disk/Rotating Ring Disk electrode from Pine Instruments (Fig. 2a);
  3. BT-2X43 series battery/supercapacitor electrochemical test station from Arbin Instruments (Fig. 2b);
  4. 580 battery/supercapacitor electrochemical test station (20-channels) combined with 880 High Frequency Response Analyzer from Scribner Associates (Fig. 2c);
  5. Optical bench with PGSTAT204 computer controlled potentiostat/galvanostat for solar/photovoltaic cell testing from Metrohm;
  6. 260D Teledyne syringe pumps with high-pressure vessels for synthesis of advanced metal/carbon/metal oxide nanoionic materials (Fig. 1b);
  7. Quartz/alumina  reactors with a tubular Carbolite furnace for sintering and thermal treatment,
  8. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) installations for carbon nanotubes/silicon nanotubes/nanowires growth;
  9. Argon MBraun glove box (Fig. 2d) for electrochemical cell assembly; and
  10. Micromeritics BET/ TPR/TPO unit,
  11. Fuel cell (low and high temperature) test station from Scribner and
  12. Schimadzu 2010 GC-MS with a pyrolizer.

 Smirnova-Facilities 2
Fig. 2: Cell testing and processing equipment at Dr. Smirnova’s Electrochemistry Laboratory: (a) RDE/RRDE setup (bipotentiostat is not shown); (b, c) Test stations, one of them (c) with “in-situ” multichannel AC impedance capability; and (d) Li-ion battery coin-cell assembly setup in Ar.

CBEC Building