Carbon-based supercapacitors from graphene and 2D materials

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

In progress.


Associate Professor Jennifer MacLeod
Head of School
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Nunzio Motta
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


With the exponentially growing portion of electricity generated from renewable resources (solar, wind, and tidal power) in total electricity production throughout the globe, the mission of implementing environment-friendly energy storage technology is even more important to the future sustainable economy.

Supercapacitors are expected to overcome the storage and the charging speed of the traditional batteries in the near future, opening new avenues for renewable energy resources. Graphene and its compounds, graphene oxide, nanotubes, are targeted as materials to increase the charge accumulation in thin film supercapacitors.

Research activities

Graphene is a 2D material, which is expected to hold a large amount of charge, as required by supercapacitors. Amongst the possible routes of preparation, the reduction of graphene oxide is one of the cheapest. Defects and pores in the graphene oxide 2D lattice may lead to a further increase of the capacitance.

The project involves:

  • Film preparation by filtration methods,
  • Microscopic studies by Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, 
  • Chemical characterization by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, Raman, UV-Vis
  • Capacitor preparation on glass or polymers
  • Capacitance characterization by I-V and C-V measurements
  • Data analysis and interpretation

The specific activities will be tailored to the level of the student (V-RES, Honours, Master, PhD)  and to the available time. The student will work in an exciting, well-established, highly collaborative research group environment, using the most advanced instrumentation available at CARF, providing the opportunity for an effective and rich learning experience.

The team includes Professor Nunzio Motta, expert in 2D materials for energy storage and in surface science, Dr Jennifer MacLeod, expert in surface science, molecular self assembly of 2D materials and graphene and an excellent group of PhD students and Post docs. The student will also benefit of an outstanding collaboration network including QUT researchers and international scientists.

More information

To find out more, please visit visit our research website: Graphene-based thin film supercapacitors.

Related publications:

Zhenghui Pan, Huozhen Zhi, Yongcai Qiu, Jie Yang, Lidan Xing, Qichong Zhang, Xiaoyu Ding, Xianshu Wang, Guoguang Xu, Hua Yuan, Min Chen, Wanfei Li, Yagang Yao, Nunzio Motta, Meinan Liu, Yuegang Zhang (2018) Achieving commercial-level mass loading in ternary-doped holey graphene hydrogel electrodes for ultrahigh energy density supercapacitors. Nano Energy. (

Zhao, Yi, Liu, Jinzhang, Wang, Bin, Sha, Jiangbo, Li, Yan, Zheng, Dezhi, Amjadipour, Mojtaba, MacLeod, Jennifer, & Motta, Nunzio (2017) Supercapacitor electrodes with remarkable specific capacitance converted from hybrid graphene Oxide/NaCl/Urea Films. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. (


  • The project will provide an advanced understanding of the graphene supercapacitors, with a potential breakthrough in the creation of powerful and ultra-light batteries for automotive and electronic applications.
  • The project has the potential to generate high impact factor publications

Skills and experience

The required skills will depend on the level of the project (V-res, Honours, Masters, PhD). Essential skills include:

  • Motivation
  • Attention to detail
  • Capacity to work in a team

Desired skills and experience may include:

  • Capacity to work in a lab environment and to take care of delicate instrumentation.
  • Experience in Microscopy (SEM, TEM, AFM, STM) and spectroscopy techniques (XPS, UV-Vis, Raman)
  • Capacity to understand and tackle physics and material science problems.
  • Experience in computer programming (C, Matlab, Mathematica, Comsol) and experience with software packages for data analysis and visualization.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact Professor Nunzio Motta for more information.