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Expanding the Use of Silicon in Batteries, By Preventing Electrodes From Expanding

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, 13 hours ago
The latest lithium-ion batteries on the market are likely to extend the charge-to-charge life of phones and electric cars by as much as 40 percent. This leap forward, which comes after more than a decade of incremental improvements, is happening because developers replaced the battery’s graphite anode with one made from silicon. Research from Drexel University and Trinity College in Ireland now suggests that an even greater improvement could be in line if the silicon is fortified with a special type of material called MXene.

This adjustment could extend the life of Li-ion batteries as much as five times, the group recently reported in Nature Communications. It’s possible because of the two-dimensional MXene material’s ability to prevent the silicon anode from expanding to its breaking point during charging — a problem that’s prevented its use for some time.

Silicon anodes are projected to replace graphite anodes in Li-ion batteries with a huge impact on the amount of energy stored,” said Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Bach Professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering and director of the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who was a co-author of the research. “We’ve discovered adding MXene materials to the silicon anodes can stabilize them enough to actually be used in batteries.”

In batteries, charge is held in electrodes — the cathode and anode — and delivered to our devices as ions travel from anode to cathode. The ions return to the anode when the battery is recharged. Battery life has steadily been increased by finding ways to improve the electrodes’ ability to send and receive more ions. Substituting silicon for graphite as the primary material in the Li-ion anode would improve its capacity for taking in ions because each silicon atom can accept up to four lithium ions, while in graphite anodes, six carbon atoms take in just one lithium. But as it charges, silicon also expands — as much as 300 percent — which can cause it to break and the battery to malfunction.

Most solutions to this problem have involved adding carbon materials and polymer binders to create a framework to contain the silicon. The process for doing it, according to Gogotsi, is complex and carbon contributes little to charge storage by the battery.

By contrast, the Drexel and Trinity group’s method mixes silicon powder into a MXene solution to create a hybrid silicon-MXene anode. MXene nanosheets distribute randomly and form a continuous network while wrapping around the silicon particles, thus acting as conductive additive and binder at the same time. It’s the MXene framework that also imposes order on ions as they arrive and prevents the anode from expanding.

“MXenes are the key to helping silicon reach its potential in batteries,” Gogotsi said. “Because MXenes are two-dimensional materials, there is more room for the ions in the anode and they can move more quickly into it — thus improving both capacity and conductivity of the electrode. They also have excellent mechanical strength, so silicon-MXene anodes are also quite durable up to 450 microns thickness.”

MXenes, which were first discovered at Drexel in 2011, are made by chemically etching a layered ceramic material called a MAX phase, to remove a set of chemically-related layers, leaving a stack of two-dimensional flakes. Researchers have produced more than 30 types of MXene to date, each with a slightly different set of properties. The group selected two of them to make the silicon-MXene anodes tested for the paper: titanium carbide and titanium carbonitride. They also tested battery anodes made from graphene-wrapped silicon nanoparticles.

All three anode samples showed higher lithium-ion capacity than current graphite or silicon-carbon anodes used in Li-ion batteries and superior conductivity — on the order of 100 to 1,000 times higher than conventional silicon anodes, when MXene is added.

“The continuous network of MXene nanosheets not only provides sufficient electrical conductivity and free space for accommodating the volume change but also well resolves the mechanical instability of Si,” they write.  “Therefore, the combination of viscous MXene ink and high-capacity Si demonstrated here offers a powerful technique to construct advanced nanostructures with exceptional performance.”

Chuanfang Zhang, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher at Trinity and lead author of the study, also notes that the production of the MXene anodes, by slurry-casting, is easily scalable for mass production of anodes of any size, which means they could make their way into batteries that power just about any of our devices.

“Considering that more than 30 MXenes are already reported, with more predicted to exist, there is certainly much room for further improving the electrochemical performance of battery electrodes by utilizing other materials from the large MXene family,” he said.

Tags:  Batteries  Battery  Chuanfang Zhang  Drexel University  Graphene  Li-ion batteries  Trinity College in Ireland  Yury Gogotsi 

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How is graphene holding up at Warsaw University of Technology?

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, 13 hours ago
Updated: 13 hours ago

Warsaw University of Technology (“WUT”), for more than 10 years, has been involved in extensive research into graphene, its applications and production techniques, in both domestic and international projects (it boasts more than 250 scientific publications in international journals and several patents). As the only institution of higher education in Poland, it is a member of the Graphene Flagship programme, the EU’s biggest ever research initiative. The project work is carried out among others in the cutting-edge Center for Advanced Materials and Technologies (CEZAMAT) and is scheduled to continue until at least March 2022.

The University cooperates with scientific and industrial partners from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Austria and China to further advance the technology of epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide for applications such as 5G technologies. WUT’s PhD students engage in joint research at scientific institutions across Europe, including Cambridge and Madrid.

WUT pursues a number of high-end national projects that focus on research into graphene and new two-dimensional materials: Team-Tech (Foundation for Polish Science), Lider and TechmatStrateg (National Centre for Research and Development), Sonata and Preludium (National Science Centre), Diamentowy Grant (Ministry of Science and Higher Education).

The University has established the Graphene Laboratory (Faculty of Chemistry and Process Engineering) dedicated to the carbon nanomaterial production, characterization and exploration of new applications, e.g. hybrid fluorescent materials or infrared radiation absorbers or even some unusual solutions such as the development of new polyester gelcoats to be used in the construction of new generation yachts, Delphia Nano Solution. It is also a promoter of spin-offs aimed at the transfer of graphene technologies and applications to industry and putting them to use for commercial production. Moreover, numerous businesses collaborate with Warsaw University of Technology in application research under joint projects and bilateral agreements.

The work on graphene at Warsaw University of Technology covers two types of this material: graphene flakes and epitaxial graphene (film). “The University has several processing lines producing graphene flakes with the use of both chemical methods of oxidation and reduction of graphene oxide and the so-called liquid-phase direct exfoliation method. Last year, a new method was launched for the production of graphene flakes which is cheap, green and easily scalable for industry. WUT is now in the process of patenting this new technology,” says Prof. Mariusz Zdrojek, head of the graphene research group at  WUT’s Faculty of Physics.

The University has also launched an epitaxial graphene growth (on copper foil) for the purpose of its own application research. Moreover, it has developed and launched the growth technique of new two-dimensional materials in the graphene family, MXenes. The synthesis of other two-dimensional materials, i.e. molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), using the epitaxial growth method has also been elaborated.

Some of the more exciting graphene applications developed by the Warsaw University of Technology in collaboration with the Polish industry include:

- New generation ultrafast infrared photodetector created in 2015 under the Graf-Tech project. The device, in which graphene plays a key role, is in the pre-implementation phase (Faculty of Physics);

- Electronic nanodevices to be used in high-frequency electronics (for fast detectors, sensors or diodes), a product of the Lider project. Currently, work is underway on the patent application (Faculty of Physics);

- New nanocomposites for electromagnetic radiation protection for cybersecurity, electronics, aerospace and 5G technology. The patent application is pending with the European Patent Office (Faculty of Physics);

- Graphene thermal pastes for electronics as novel materials for heat transfer. Conductive graphene inks and pastes suitable for multi-surface printing technologies (e.g. clothes or banknote printing), where they act as transparent electrodes. Patented technology (Faculty of Mechatronics);

- Membrane technologies for mobile drinking water treatment plants, where use of graphene has improved selectivity. (Faculty of - Material Science and Engineering; Faculty of Chemical and Process Engineering);

- Graphene as an anti-corrosion coating, a product of the GrafTech project as part of the joint effort with a research partner (Faculty of Physics);

- other, i.e. flexible displays, pressure sensors, glucose sensors or amino acid biosensors.

For the past few years WUT’s researchers have been also conducting research into the application of other 2D materials. This  has resulted in creation of the materials’ potential new applications eg in the production of composites for the space and aerospace industries or as an innovative platform for drug delivery, new optoelectronic nanodevices or devices for terahertz electronics applications.

With the appropriate know-how, materials and infrastructure and access to the country’s best specialists,  Warsaw University of Technology remains at the leading edge of the development of technologies and applications for other two-dimensional materials, considered to be of strategic importance to advanced industry sectors.

Tags:  2D materials  Graphene  Graphene Flagship  Mariusz Zdrojek  Warsaw University of Technology 

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Graphene and silk make self-healable electronic tattoos

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, 21 hours ago
Updated: 13 hours ago
Researchers have designed graphene-based e-tattoos designed to act as biosensors. The sensors can collect data relate to human health, such as skin reactions to medication or to assess the degree of exposure to ultraviolet light.

Considerable research has gone into electronic tattoos (or e-tattoos), as part of the emerging field of or epidermal electronics. These are a thin form of wearable electronics, designed to be fitted to the skin. The aim of these lightweight sensors is to collect physiological data through sensors.

The types of applications of the sensors, from Tsinghua University, include assessing exposure to ultraviolet light to the skin (where the e-tattoos function as dosimeters) and for the collection of ‘vital signs’ to assess overall health or reaction to a particular medication (biosensors).

The use of graphene aids the collection of electric signals and it also imparts material properties to the sensors, allowing them to be bent, pressed, and twisted without any loss to sensors functionality.

The new sensors, developed in China, have shown – via as series of tests – good sensitivity to external stimuli like strain, humidity, and temperature. The basis of the sensor is a material matrix composed of a graphene and silk fibroin combination.

The highly flexible e‐tattoos are manufactured by printing a suspension of graphene, calcium ions and silk fibroin. Through this process the graphene flakes distributed in the matrix form an electrically conductive path. The path is highly responsive to environmental changes and it can detect multi-stimuli.

The e‐tattoo is also capable of self-healing. The tests showed how the tattoo heals after damage by water. This occurs due to the reformation of hydrogen and coordination bonds at the point of any fracture. The healing efficiency was demonstrated to be 100 percent and it take place in less than one second.

The researchers are of the view that the e-tattoos can be used as electrocardiograms, for assessing breathing, and for monitoring temperature changes. This means that the e‐tattoo model could be the basis for a new generation of epidermal electronics.

Commenting on the research, chief scientist Yingying Zhang said: “Based on the superior capabilities of our e-tattoos, we believe that such skin-like devices hold great promise for manufacturing cost-effective artificial skins and wearable electronics.”

Tags:  biosensors  Electronics  Graphene  Healthcare  Tsinghua University  Yingying Zhang 

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Andrey Turchanin Elected Partnering Division Leader

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2019
Andrey Turchanin from Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) and Yuri Svirko from University of Eastern Finland have been appointed by the Graphene Flagship Executive Board as the new leader and deputy, respectively, of the Graphene Flagship Partnering Division. The vote took place in November and, altogether, 39 Associated Members' representatives voted (43.6%). Andrey Turchanin received 21 votes (53.85%) and Yuri Svirko received 18 votes (46.15%). 

The primary responsibilities of the Graphene Flagship Partnering Division are to improve cooperation through the identification of opportunities for various types of synergies between Core partners, Partnering Projects (PPs) and Associated Members (AMs), and to provide recommendations on the partnering mechanism to the Graphene Flagship management and other relevant stakeholders based on the feedback and direct interactions with the Partnering Division members. They will gather feedback from Partnering Division members on a regular basis on their needs and challenges in engaging in collaborations with the Graphene Flagship. 

Andrey Turchanin is Head of the Laboratory of Applied Physical Chemistry & Molecular Nanotechnology at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. With broad and long-term experience of more than ten years in graphene and related 2D materials for academic research and industrial applications, he was coordinator of the project "Graphene Nanomembranes from Molecular Monolayers" at the Graphene Flagship Open Call from 2014 to 2016. He was also a member of Work Package Enabling Materials and Work Package Flexible Electronics in the Graphene Flagship Core 1 Project from 2016 to 2018. In the FLAG-ERA Joint Transnational Call 2017, he is coordinator of the H2O ("Heterostructures of 2D Materials and Organic Semiconductor Nanolayers") Partnering Project. 

"The Partnering Projects, with their complementary expertise, bring great added value to the Graphene Flagship´s scientific community enabling new possibilities both in research and in industrial implementation of graphene and related 2D materials," says Turchanin 

Yuri Svirko is a physics prrofessor at the Department of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). He was the principal investigator on the UEF team, which was involved in the Graphene Flagship ramp up phase and Core 1, therefore he has experience working both as a partner and as an Associate Member of the Flagship. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of graphene science, with wide experience in EU and national projects focused on the fabrication of micro and nanoscale optical components, among others. Yuri Svirko is also the principal investigator of the CoExAN Partnering Project "Collective Excitations in Advanced Nanostructures".

The Support of the SCOPE Project to the GF Partnering Division

The SCOPE project, funded by the European Commission, provides support to institutions and researchers involved in Graphene Flagship Partnering Projects (PPs) and Associated Members (AMs) by granting several types of grants to help them integrate with the Graphene Flagship Core projects. Communication of research results is also offered via news articles and dissemination in social media. 

The Graphene Flagship Partnering Division is also supported by the SCOPE travel grants that make the attendance of their members to the governance meetings of the Graphene Flagship posible. Andrey Turchanin is also a member of the SCOPE  Advisory Committee.  

Tags:  2D materials  Andrey Turchanin  Friedrich Schiller University Jena  Graphene  The Graphene Flagship  University of Eastern Finland  Yuri Svirko 

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Graphene@Manchester at The University of Manchester

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2019

Graphene@Manchester at The University of Manchester is an on-going programme of activity to ensure that Manchester and the UK play a leading international role in developing the revolutionary potential of graphene.

Graphene@Manchester is creating a critical mass of graphene and 2D materials expertise made up of scientists, manufacturers, engineers, innovators, investors and industrialists to build a thriving knowledge-based economy.   

At the heart the vision is the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), multi-million pound facilities with a commitment fostering strong industry-academic collaborations.   

The Graphene Council is a proud founding Affiliate Member of the GEIC, providing access to a word class facility and the graphene experts at the University of Manchester. 

Graphene@Manchester is home to an unrivalled breadth of expertise across 30 academic groups. This expertise gives us the ability to take graphene applications from basic research to finished product.   

Graphene is a disruptive technology; one that could open up new markets and even replace existing technologies or materials. From transport, medicine, electronics, energy, and water filtration, the range of industries where graphene research is making an impact is substantial.   

Graphene has the potential to create the next-generation of electronics currently limited to science fiction. Our facilities provide dedicated equipment to develop and produce inks and formulations for printed and flexible electronics, wearables and coatings.

Tags:  2D materials  coatings  Graphene  University of Manchester 

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Strategic Insight Paper Explores Graphene's Impact

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2019
The International Sign Association (ISA)  is marking its 75th anniversary by giving back to the sign, graphics and visual communications industry. A series of white papers will explore future technologies expected to impact the industry.

The first Strategic Insight paper, Nanomaterials: Giant Changes Coming from the Tiniest of Materials, was written by Dexter Johnson, senior science editor/analyst for the Graphene Council. It explores nanomaterials and their potential uses in protective applications, thin-film electronics (i.e. flexible displays and electronics), digital displays, pigments for inks and paper.

"ISA was founded in 1944 by visionaries who wanted to see how they could grow the industry and their businesses," said Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. "As we mark the 75th anniversary, it only seems fitting that we honor their legacy by looking forward as well. These Strategic Insight papers, written by leading thinkers from inside and outside our industry, will help companies explore the next iteration of the sign, graphics and visual communications industry in a way that honors our founders."

Tags:  Graphene  International Sign Association  nanomaterials  The Graphene Council 

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Micro and nano materials, including clothing for Olympic athletes

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 25, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 25, 2019
A research team of materials engineers and performance scientists at Swansea University has been awarded £1.8 million to develop new products - in areas from the motor industry to packaging and sport - that make use of micro and nano materials based on specialist inks.

One application already being developed is specialist clothing that will be worn by elite British athletes in training and at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The researchers will be incorporating advanced materials such as graphene into flexible coatings which will be printed and embedded into bespoke garments to enhance the performance of elite athletes.

The purpose of the project is to serve as a pipeline for new ideas, testing to see which of them can work in practice and on a large scale, and then turning them into actual products.

The gap between initial concept and final product is known in manufacturing as the "valley of death" as so many good ideas simply fail to make it. The pipeline will help ensure more of them make it across the valley: off the drawing board and into production.

This project is unique in that it is driven by market requirements. As well as the wearable technology, identified by the English Institute of Sport (EIS), two other areas will be amongst the first to use the pipeline: SMART packaging, with the company Tectonic, and the car industry, with GTS Flexible Materials

The project is a collaboration between two teams in Swansea University's College of Engineering: the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) led by Professor Tim Claypole and Professor David Gethin, and the Elite and Professional Sport (EPS) research group, namely Dr Neil Bezodis, Professor Liam Kilduff and Dr Camilla Knight.

The WCPC is pioneering ways of using printing with specialist inks as an advanced manufacturing process. Their expertise will be central to the project.

Professor Tim Claypole, Director of the Wales Centre for Printing and Coating, said:

"The WCPC expertise in ink formulation and printing is enabling the creation of a range of advanced products for a wide range of applications that utilise innovative materials".

Sport, which is one of the areas the project covers, has been a test bed for technology before. For example, heart rate monitors and exercise bikes have now become mainstream.

EPS project lead Dr Neil Bezodis underlined the importance of links with partners within the overall project:

"Collaborations between industrial partners which are driven by end users in elite sport are key to ensuring our research has a real impact".

Tags:  Camilla Knight  coatings  David Gethin  Graphene  Liam Kilduff  nanomaterials  Neil Bezodis  sporting goods  Swansea University  Tim Claypole  Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating 

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Talga Anode Achieves Outstanding Freezing Temperature Performance

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Saturday, March 23, 2019
Talga Resources , ispleased to announce outstanding low temperature test results from its engineered graphite anode product for lithium-ion batteries, Talnode™-C.

Development of Talnode-C is accelerating through rigorous commercial validation processes at multiple commercial partner facilities and independent battery institutes in Asia, USA and Europe. In new tests conducted at a leading Japanese battery institute, Li-ion batteries using Talnode-C were subjected to performance tests under a range of temperatures including freezing conditions. Highlights of the test results include:
• Retention of 100% capacity and 100% cycle efficiency at freezing temperature (0°C)
• Out-performance of market leading commercial anode products

In freezing conditions Li-ion batteries usually suffer lower capacity retention and cycling efficiency, causing shorter run time of devices such as laptop computers and mobile phones, or shorter driving range of electric vehicles. Cold temperatures can also cause deposits of lithium metal to form in the battery, causing internal short circuits that can lead to fire in the cell, making low temperature performance a critical technical deliverable for Li-ion batteries1.

Talga Managing Director, Mr Mark Thompson: “These results show Talnode-C has the potential to solve problems that have long challenged Li-ion batteries in cold weather applications, where conventional graphite anodes struggle or fail to perform. This is a further demonstration that Talga’s anode products made from our high grade graphite deposit in Sweden, using wholly owned process and refining technology, have exciting potential in the fast growing Li-ion battery market.”

Moving Forward
Market validation of the TalnodeTM product range, and in particular the flagship Li-ion anode product Talnode-C, continues as Talga works to incorporate the development of its new class of high-performance graphitic carbon anode products into its long-term business strategy.

Advanced testing and validation, including the surface treatment and coating of Talnode-C, progresses across multiple commercial partner facilities and independent battery institutes in Asia, USA and Europe. It is expected that Talnode-C, a fully engineered and formulated active anodeready product to be marketed directly towards Li-ion battery manufacturers, will form the
foundation of a near-term commercialisation opportunity for the Company’s larger scale development of the Vittangi graphite project in Sweden.

Low Temperature Technical Background
Li-ion batteries are widely used at room temperature because of their high specific energy and energy density, long cycle life, low self-discharge, and long shelf life2. When charging a Li-ion battery, the lithium ions inside the battery are soaked up (as in a sponge) by the porous negative electrode (anode), made of graphite.

Under temperatures approaching freezing (0°C) however, the lithium ions aren’t efficiently captured by the anode. Instead, many lithium ions are reduced to lithium metal and coat the surface of the anode, a process called lithium plating, resulting in less lithium available to carry the flow of electricity. Consequently, the battery’s capacity and cycle efficiency drops and this translates to poorer performance3.

In cooler countries of the northern hemisphere, it has been measured that the driving range of electric vehicles can be reduced by 41% in real world sub-zero conditions4. The most significant negative effect of low temperature on Li-ion batteries is the generation of lithium metal growths called dendrites, which can perforate the separator and cause a short circuit or fire in the lithium-ion cells. A highly visible example of this was in the 2013 grounding of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft following a spate of electrical system failures, including fires. Investigation found that cold winter overnight temperatures fostered lithium plating within the battery cells and caused the short circuits5.

Tags:  Graphene  Li-ion batteries  Mark Thompson  Talga Resources 

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Versarien PLC - USA Update

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Saturday, March 23, 2019
Versarien plc, is pleased to provide an update on the Company's activities in the United States of America. Versarien has recently established a new US corporate entity, Versarien Graphene Inc, to facilitate the Company's graphene and other 2D materials activities in the USA.  The Company is additionally in the process of establishing a new office, laboratory facility and applications centre in Houston, Texas that will act as a hub for the Company's activities in North America.

Patrick Abbott has been appointed as Versarien's Vice President North American Operations to oversee these activities and he will be based at the Company's Houston facility once established.  Patrick is an experienced speciality materials professional with over 20 years' experience in the sector.  

He is a former US Marine Corps Officer who spent over 16 years in a variety of global business development and marketing roles at BASF. In 2015 and 2016, Patrick was part of the team transitioning specific product lines to Huntsman Corporation. Subsequently he established Global Marketing Empire Solutions, a disruptive technology consulting company and joined XG Sciences, a company focussed on graphene nano technology, as their global sales manager.  At XG Sciences he was tasked with assisting the executive team in transitioning the company from an academic company to full commercialisation.

The establishment of this US presence follows on from collaboration with partners in the region.  Further North American potential collaboration partners and customers have been identified, both through inbound enquires and proactive approaches, and it is intended that the Houston facility and additional resource will enable these to be more efficiently progressed.

The Company is pleased to be participating in the UK Government organised "UK Technology and Capability Showcase" being held at Collins Aerospace in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 25 March 2019 where the Company will be presenting its 2D materials technology to Collins Aerospace representatives.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "We are very pleased to be moving to the next stage of our development in the US with the establishment of Versarien Graphene Inc and a dedicated facility in Houston. 

"We are already pursuing a number of substantial opportunities in the US and I expect our level of activity to significantly increase in the coming months, particularly given the high number of enquires we have had for the supply of our graphene and other 2D materials from leading US companies."

"I am also particularly pleased we have secured the services of Patrick Abbott and I would like to formally welcome him to the Versarien team.  His skills and experience will be invaluable as we look to build more relationships and commercialise graphene enhanced products with US companies."

"Coupled with the recent progress we have made in China and elsewhere we remain confident that we can make further rapid progress this year.  I look forward to providing further updates on our US and other activities in due course."

Tags:  2D materials  Graphene  Neill Ricketts  Patrick Abbott  Versarien 

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Gold and graphene now used in biosensors to detect diseases

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Graphene and gold are now being used in ultrasensitive biosensors to detect diseases at the molecular level with near perfect efficiency.


In a paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists with the University of Minnesota explain how they developed ultrasensitive biosensors capable of probing protein structures and, therefore, able to detect disorders related to protein misfolding.

Such disorders range from Alzheimer's disease in humans to chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease in animals.

"In order to detect and treat many diseases we need to detect protein molecules at very small amounts and understand their structure," said Sang-Hyun Oh, lead researcher on the study, in a media statement. "Currently, there are many technical challenges with that process. We hope that our device using graphene and a unique manufacturing process will provide the fundamental research that can help overcome those challenges."

The gold+graphene-infused biosensors can detect the imbalance that causes behind Alzheimer's disease, chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease.

Oh explained that graphene, a high-quality form of graphite that 'evolves' into a material made of a single layer of carbon atoms, has already been used in biosensors. The problem has been that its remarkable single atom thickness does not interact efficiently with light when shined through it. Light absorption and conversion to local electric fields are essential for detecting small amounts of molecules when diagnosing diseases.

According to the scientist, previous research utilizing similar graphene nanostructures has only demonstrated a light absorption rate of less than 10%.

In their new study, however, the UMN researchers combined graphene with nano-sized metal ribbons of gold. Using sticky tape and a high-tech nanofabrication technique called “template stripping,” they were able to create an ultra-flat base layer surface for the graphene.

They then used the energy of light to generate a sloshing motion of electrons or plasmons in the graphene. "By shining light on the single-atom-thick graphene layer device, they were able to create a plasmon wave with unprecedented efficiency at a near-perfect 94 percent light absorption into 'tidal waves' of electric field. When they inserted protein molecules between the graphene and metal ribbons, they were able to harness enough energy to view single layers of protein molecules," the university's press release reads.

According to Oh, he and his team were surprised by the rate of light absorption, which matched almost perfectly their computer simulations.

The scientists are hopeful that this technique will greatly improve different devices used to detect disorders related to protein misfolding.

Tags:  Biosensors  Graphene  Sang-Hyun Oh  University of Minnesota 

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A quantum magnet with a topological twist

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Taking their name from an intricate Japanese basket pattern, kagome magnets are thought to have electronic properties that could be valuable for future quantum devices and applications. Theories predict that some electrons in these materials have exotic, so-called topological behaviors and others behave somewhat like graphene, another material prized for its potential for new types of electronics.

Now, an international team led by researchers at Princeton University has observed that some of the electrons in these magnets behave collectively, like an almost infinitely massive electron that is strangely magnetic, rather than like individual particles. The study was published in the journal Nature Physics this week.

The team also showed that placing the kagome magnet in a high magnetic field causes the direction of magnetism to reverse. This "negative magnetism" is akin to having a compass that points south instead of north, or a refrigerator magnet that suddenly refuses to stick.

"We have been searching for super-massive 'flat-band' electrons that can still conduct electricity for a long time, and finally we have found them," said M. Zahid Hasan, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University, who led the team. "In this system, we also found that due to an internal quantum phase effect, some electrons line up opposite to the magnetic field, producing negative magnetism."

The team explored how atoms arranged in a kagome pattern in a crystal give rise to strange electronic properties that can have real-world benefits, such as superconductivity, which allows electricity to flow without loss as heat, or magnetism that can be controlled at the quantum level for use in future electronics.

The researchers used state-of-the-art scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM/S) to look at the behavior of electrons in a kagome-patterned crystal made from cobalt and tin, sandwiched between two layers of sulfur atoms, which are further sandwiched between two layers of tin.

In the kagome layer, the cobalt atoms form triangles around a hexagon with a tin atom in the center. This geometry forces the electrons into some uncomfortable positions -- leading this type of material to be called a "frustrated magnet."

To explore the electron behavior in this structure, the researchers nicked the top layers to reveal the kagome layer beneath.

They then used the STM/S technique to detect each electron's energy profile, or band structure. The band structure describes the range of energies an electron can have within a crystal, and explains, for example, why some materials conduct electricity and others are insulators. The researchers found that some of electrons in the kagome layer have a band structure that, rather than being curved as in most materials, is flat.

A flat band structure indicates that the electrons have an effective mass that is so large as to be almost infinite. In such a state, the particles act collectively rather than as individual particles.

Theories have long predicted that the kagome pattern would create a flat band structure, but this study is the first experimental detection of a flat band electron in such a system.

One of the general predictions that follows is that a material with a flat band may exhibit negative magnetism.

Indeed, in the current study, when the researchers applied a strong magnetic field, some of the kagome magnet's electrons pointed in the opposite direction.

"Whether the field was applied up or down, the electrons' energy flipped in the same direction, that was the first thing that was strange in terms of the experiments," said Songtian Sonia Zhang, a graduate student in physics and one of three co-first-authors on the paper.

"That puzzled us for about three months," said Jia-Xin Yin, a postdoctoral research associate and another co-first author on the study. "We were searching for the reason, and with our collaborators we realized that this was the first experimental evidence that this flat band peak in the kagome lattice has a negative magnetic moment."

The researchers found that the negative magnetism arises due to the relationship between the kagome flat band, a quantum phenomenon called spin-orbit coupling, magnetism and a quantum factor called the Berry curvature field. Spin-orbit coupling refers to a situation where an electron's spin, which itself is a quantum property of electrons, becomes linked to the electron's orbital rotation. The combination of spin-orbital coupling and the magnetic nature of the material leads all the electrons to behave in lock step, like a giant single particle.

Another intriguing behavior that arises from the tightly coupled spin-orbit interactions is the emergence of topological behaviors. The subject of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics, topological materials can have electrons that flow without resistance on their surfaces and are an active area of research. The cobalt-tin-sulfur material is an example of a topological system.

Two-dimensional patterned lattices can have other desirable types of electron conductance. For example, graphene is a pattern of carbon atoms that has generated considerable interest for its electronic applications over the past two decades. The kagome lattice's band structure gives rise to electrons that behave similarly to those in graphene.

Tags:  Graphene  M. Zahid Hasan  Princeton University  Songtian Sonia Zhang 

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Graphene Nanomaterials Unlocking New Possibilities

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Friday, March 8, 2019

Since the isolation of graphene in 2004 ( a single plane of sp2 carbon bonded atoms in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice), there has been a significant amount of research and application development work in academic and industrial organizations world-wide. 

Today, graphene is being produced and used in commercial quantities in a wide range of application areas, from  energy storage to construction materials. In fact, more than 40 discreet industries and applications are set to be disrupted by the extraordinary properties of a range of graphene materials.

Although the original definition of graphene is carbon as a single layer of atoms, commercial forms of graphene include; CVD Monolayer, Graphene Nano-platelets (GNPs), Graphene Oxide and various forms of functionalized graphene depending on the the intended application.

 

There are more than 200 companies world-wide that claim to produce graphene materials with new companies entering the sector every day.

The Graphene Council was founded in 2013 to represent the graphene community, including researchers, producers, application developers and end users. Today our community includes more than 20,000 material scientists and R&D professionals world-wide. 

We are actively working to support and advance the commercial adoption of graphene though the development of standards as members of the ISO/ANSI/IEC standards working groups as well as our quality control initiative,  the Verified Graphene Producers program which includes in-person inspections and testing of material at leading laboratories, like the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK,

The Graphene Council is also a founding Affiliate Member of the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Center (GEIC) at the University of Manchester. The GEIC allows for the rapid prototyping and testing of graphene enhanced products through the use of onsite industrial grade equipment and material characterization tools. 

If you are interested in learning how graphene can unlock new performance gains for your products or if you have new application ideas, contact us. 

Our global team of experts can help you identify the right partners and materials for your objectives. Contact us for more information. 

 

Graphene was first isolated at the 

University of Manchester in 2004 by 

Dr. Andre Geim and Dr. Konstantin Novoselov 

for which they received the 

Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.

 

Tags:  Andre Geim  graphene  Konstantin Novoselov  Nobel  the graphene council  The Graphene Flagship 

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Directed evolution builds nanoparticles

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, March 7, 2019
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2019

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three scientists who developed the method that forever changed protein engineering: directed evolution. Mimicking natural evolution, directed evolution guides the synthesis of proteins with improved or new functions.

First, the original protein is mutated to create a collection of mutant protein variants. The protein variants that show improved or more desirable functions are selected. These selected proteins are then once more mutated to create another collection of protein variants for another round of selection. This cycle is repeated until a final, mutated protein is evolved with optimized performance compared to the original protein.

Now, scientists from the lab of Ardemis Boghossian at EPFL, have been able to use directed evolution to build not proteins, but synthetic nanoparticles (Chemical Communications, "Directed evolution of the optoelectronic properties of synthetic nanomaterials").

These nanoparticles are used as optical biosensors – tiny devices that use light to detect biological molecules in air, water, or blood. Optical biosensors are widely used in biological research, drug development, and medical diagnostics, such as real-time monitoring of insulin and glucose in diabetics.

“The beauty of directed evolution is that we can engineer a protein without even knowing how its structure is related to its function,” says Boghossian. “And we don't even have this information for the vast, vast majority of proteins.”

Her group used directed evolution to modify the optoelectronic properties of DNA-wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes (or, DNA-SWCNTs, as they are abbreviated), which are nano-sized tubes of carbon atoms that resemble rolled up sheets of graphene covered by DNA. When they detect their target, the DNA-SWCNTs emit an optical signal that can penetrate through complex biological fluids, like blood or urine.

Using a directed evolution approach, Boghossian’s team was able to engineer new DNA-SWCNTs with optical signals that are increased by up to 56% – and they did it over only two evolution cycles.

“The majority of researchers in this field just screen large libraries of different materials in hopes of finding one with the properties they are looking for,” says Boghossian. “In optical nanosensors, we try to improve properties like selectivity, brightness, and sensitivity. By applying directed evolution, we provide researchers with a guided approach to engineering these nanosensors.”

The study shows that what is essentially a bioengineering technique can be used to more rationally tune the optoelectronic properties of certain nanomaterials.

Boghossian explains: “Fields like materials science and physics are mostly preoccupied with defining material structure-function relationships, making materials that lack this information difficult to engineer. But this is a problem that nature solved billions of years ago – and, in recent decades, biologists have tackled it as well. I think our study shows that as materials scientists and physicists, we can still learn a few pragmatic lessons from biologists.”

Tags:  Ardemis Boghossian  biosensors  DNA  EPFL  Graphene  nanomaterials  optoelectronics 

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Step right up for bigger 2D sheets

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, March 7, 2019
Rice University researchers determined complementarity between growing hexagonal boron nitride crystals and a stepped substrate mimics the complementarity found in strands of DNA. The Rice theory supports experiments that have produced large, oriented wafers.

Very small steps make a big difference to researchers who want to create large wafers of two-dimensional material. Atom-sized steps in a substrate provide the means for 2D crystals growing in a chemical vapor furnace to come together in perfect rank. Scientists have recently observed this phenomenon, and now a Rice University group has an idea why it works.

Rice materials theorist Boris Yakobson and researcher Ksenia Bets led the construction of simulations that show atom-sized steps on a growth surface, or substrate, have the remarkable ability to keep monolayer crystal islands in alignment as they grow. If the conditions are right, the islands join into a larger crystal without the grain boundaries so characteristic of 2D materials like graphene grown via chemical vapor deposition (CVD). That preserves their electronic perfection and characteristics, which differ depending on the material.

Atom-sized steps in a substrate provide the means for 2D crystals growing in a chemical vapor furnace to come together in perfect rank. Scientists have recently observed this phenomenon, and now a Rice University group has an idea why it works.

Rice materials theorist Boris Yakobson and researcher Ksenia Bets led the construction of simulations that show atom-sized steps on a growth surface, or substrate, have the remarkable ability to keep monolayer crystal islands in alignment as they grow.

If the conditions are right, the islands join into a larger crystal without the grain boundaries so characteristic of 2D materials like graphene grown via chemical vapor deposition (CVD). That preserves their electronic perfection and characteristics, which differ depending on the material.

The Rice theory appears in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.The investigation focused on hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), aka white graphene, a crystal often grown via CVD. Crystals nucleate at various places on a perfectly flat substrate material and not necessarily in alignment with each other.

However, recent experiments have demonstrated that growth on vicinal substrates -- surfaces that appear flat but actually have sparse, atomically small steps -- can align the crystals and help them merge into a single, uniform structure, as reported on arXiv. A co-author of that report and leader of the Korean team, Feng Ding, is an alumnus of the Yakobson lab and a current adjunct professor at Rice.

But the experimentalists do not show how it works as, Yakobson said, the steps are known to meander and be somewhat misaligned.

"I like to compare the mechanism to a 'digital filter,' here offered by the discrete nature of atomic lattices," he said. "The analog curve that, with its slopes, describes a meandering step is 'sampled and digitized' by the very grid of constituent atomic rows, breaking the curve into straight 1D-terrace segments. The slope doesn't help, but it doesn't hurt. Surprisingly, the match can be good; like a well-designed house on a hill, it stands straight.

"The theory is simple, though it took a lot of hard work to calculate and confirm the complementarity matching between the metal template and the h-BN, almost like for A-G-T-C pairs in strands of DNA," Yakobson said.

It was unclear why the crystals merged into one so well until simulations by Bets, with the help of co-author and Rice graduate student Nitant Gupta, showed how h-BN "islands" remain aligned while nucleating along visibly curved steps.

"A vicinal surface has steps that are slightly misaligned within the flat area," Bets said. "It has large terraces, but on occasion there will be one-atom-high steps. The trick by the experimentalists was to align these vicinal steps in one direction."

In chemical vapor deposition, a hot gas of the atoms that will form the material are flowed into the chamber, where they settle on the substrate and nucleate crystals. h-BN atoms on a vicinal surface prefer to settle in the crook of the steps.

"They have this nice corner where the atoms will have more neighbors, which makes them happier," Bets said. "They try to align to the steps and grow from there.

"But from a physics point of view, it's impossible to have a perfect, atomically flat step," she said. "Sooner or later, there will be small indentations, or kinks. We found that at the atomic scale, these kinks in the steps don't prevent h-BN from aligning if their dimensions are complementary to the h-BN structure. In fact, they help to ensure co-orientation of the islands."

Because the steps the Rice lab modeled are 1.27 angstroms deep (an angstrom is one-billionth of a meter), the growing crystals have little trouble surmounting the boundary. "Those steps are smaller than the bond distance between the atoms," Bets said. "If they were larger, like two angstroms or higher, it would be more of a natural barrier, so the parameters have to be adjusted carefully."

Two growing islands that approach each other zip together seamlessly, according to the simulations. Similarly, cracks that appear along steps easily heal because the bonds between the atoms are strong enough to overcome the small distance.

Any path toward large-scale growth of 2D materials is worth pursuing for an army of applications, according to the researchers. 2D materials like conductive graphene, insulating h-BN and semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides are all the focus of intense scrutiny by researchers around the world. The Rice researchers hope their theoretical models will point the way toward large crystals of many kinds.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supported the research. Computer resources were provided by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, supported by the DOE Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI cluster at Rice, administered by the Center for Research Computing and procured in partnership with Rice's Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.

Tags:  Boris Yakobson  CVD  Graphene  Ksenia Bets  Rice University  U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 

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First Graphene Presents at Graphene Automotive 2019 in Detroit

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, March 7, 2019
First Graphene's  Chief Technology Officer, Dr Andy Goodwin made a presentation at the Graphene Automotive 2019 conference and exhibition in Detroit on 4th and 5th March 2019. Andy was also invited to chair Day 1 of the conference. 

First Graphene provided an update on the measures that have been implemented to ensure the batch to batch quality of PureGRAPH™ products manufactured at Henderson, Western Australia. The Company also presented the latest information on the fundamental properties of PureGRAPH™ products underlining these are righty called graphene materials and also contained an update of progress in key applications. 

The new fundamental data indicates PureGRAPH™ is a low-defect, high aspect ratio graphene product with low metal and silicon contaminations levels. PureGRAPH™ has been shown by microscopy to contain high levels of Few Layer Graphene platelets. Raman analysis indicates the average platelet thickness is < 10 layers. 

One of the impediments to a more rapid commercialisation of graphene has been the inconsistency of quality material available for purchase. While many organisations state they can produce graphene, buyers have had issues with quality. Recognising this issue, FGR has gone to considerable lengths to ensure a high-quality product fit for delivery to industry.

"We continue to implement testing and monitoring tools that ensure the quality of PureGRAPH™ products for our customers” said Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd. “we will also continue to publish the more fundamental information on our products as this information becomes available from our ongoing collaborations with leading universities”. 

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  graphene platelets 

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Prototype of future phone completed at University of Tartu

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Physicists at the University of Tartu have been working on a graphene-based sensor for the last five years. This sensor, to be integrated into mobile phones, will actively monitor toxic substances in the ambient air and recommend to the person carrying it to choose a safer route. The prototype has now been completed and was introduced to mobile phone manufacturers at a major event in Barcelona.

“Whereas earlier we were only able to test it in the laboratory, now we have the chance to test the technology in the real environment – outdoors,” said Raivo Jaaniso, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Tartu. “There’s still a long way to go, and since we’re getting closer to our goal, the need for investment is increasing quite a lot.”

The World Mobile Congress, which was held in Barcelona from 25-28 February, is the largest fair in the world showcasing future technology. The aims of the researchers on the graphene project are to establish closer relations with mobile phone manufacturers on site and to continue development work. “Our next goal is to make a new prototype in which everything’s considerably smaller and from which it’ll be just one more step to the finished product,” explained Jaaniso. Among other things, long-term stability still needs to be thoroughly tested. According to Jaaniso, 30-40 people should test the device in daily use during the pilot project.

The sensor developed by the researchers at the University of Tartu differs from others available on the market in terms of its sensitivity. It also works successfully outside when the concentration of toxic substances is low, warning the person carrying it against, for example, vehicle exhaust emissions. “It works in more or less the same way as the human nose,” said Jaaniso.

The researchers at the University of Tartu are developing a graphene-based sensor within the framework of the pan-European research partnership project ‘Graphene Flagship’. With a budget of €1 billion, the project aims to develop graphene-based future technology solutions and brings together researchers from 23 countries. Besides the sensor the Estonians are working on, touch screens, superbatteries, smart clothes and 5G Internet hardware are also being developed.

Tags:  Graphene  Raivo Jaaniso  Sensors  University of Tartu 

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Contract awarded to develop graphene ink-based heaters for gas pre-heating

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Haydale, is pleased to announce it will be collaborating with Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and the Energy Innovation Centre, on a study to investigate the feasibility of developing a modern, innovative, fully compliant graphene-based preheat solution for use on gas operational sites.
 
The graphene solution has the potential to be more efficient and reliable than existing systems and has in-built flexibility to either retrofit onto existing pipes or to be built into new heat exchangers. Phase One of the 30-week project will see Haydale working directly with NGN, the gas distributer for the North East, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire.
 
Modern gas pre-heating systems, whilst more efficient than traditional Water Bath Heaters (WBHs), have larger electrical power requirements and require backup generators to remain operational in the event of a power cut. Maintaining gas supplies is of vital importance to the Gas Distribution Networks and as such, backup power is used to ensure that sites can remain operational should the electrical supply be interrupted.  
 
WBHs are gas-powered and use low voltage solenoids in their control, so can remain operational from the very low voltage (VLV) supply which is backed up by batteries on site. WBHs however can be considered inefficient both environmentally and in terms of heat transfer.
 
Development of graphene-based, high conductivity inks and coatings that can be applied to surfaces have the potential to provide even heating across large areas with a very thin profile. This technology is made possible by Haydale’s patented HDPlas process which promotes efficient dispersion of nanomaterials into polymers and carriers. 
 
With this innovative technology, flexible construction methods have the potential for several different solutions such as external fitment to existing pipes, internal fitment to existing pipes or integration into new replacement composite pipe sections which may include heat-exchanging internal surfaces. 
 
Should this initial feasibility project prove successful, future development stages will progress to field-based trials.
 
Dr Matthew Thornton, Senior Manager for Haydale Composite Solutions, said: “We are excited to be working with NGN and EIC to develop our graphene-based heater technology for use on the gas distribution network. The opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility of graphene-based heaters as a viable alternative to incumbent pre-heat systems presents a fantastic opportunity for Haydale in this innovative sector.”

Keith Broadbent, COO for Haydale, said: “This solution for the gas networks shows another commercial route for the functionalised graphene inks that are being produced by Haydale. We look forward to working with both Northern Gas Networks and the Energy Innovation Centre to progress this route to market.”
 
Gareth Payne, Project Manager for Northern Gas Networks, said: “I’m really excited to be leading this project on behalf of NGN, working with Haydale Composite Solutions and supported by the EIC. If this project proves successful, then we could be looking at a real game changer in terms of preheating systems that can be utilised on gas distribution sites. We hope this project will lead to collaborative working with other networks to develop the idea further, as NGN continues to explore low-carbon technologies in order to deliver a cleaner, greener future for customers.”

David Turner-Bennett, Gas Innovation Engineer for the Energy Innovation Centre, said: “We are thrilled to be facilitating this project with NGN and Haydale. This project has the potential to revolutionise pre-heating systems in the gas industry and demonstrates NGN’s commitment to securing a low-carbon future. It’s a pleasure to work with and support a ground-breaking project that involves people like Gareth and Matthew who are passionate about change. We hope to see other networks follow NGN’s lead and collaborate to develop this idea further.”

Tags:  Graphene  Haydale  Keith Broadbent  Matthew Thornton  nanomaterials  Northern Gas Networks 

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New method of synthesising nanographene on metal oxide surfaces

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Nanostructures based on carbon are promising materials for nanoelectronics.

However, to be suitable, they would often need to be formed on non-metallic surfaces, which has been a challenge – up to now. Researchers at FAU have found a method of forming nanographenes on metal oxide surfaces. Their research, conducted within the framework of collaborative research centre 953 – Synthetic Carbon Allotropes funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), has now been published in the journal Science.



Two-dimensional, flexible, tear-resistant, lightweight, and versatile are all properties that apply to graphene, which is often described as a miracle material. In addition, this carbon-based nanostructure has unique electrical properties that make it attractive for nanoelectronic applications. Depending on its size and shape, nanographene can be conductive or semi-conductive – properties that are essential for use in nanotransistors. Thanks to its good electrical and thermal conductivity, it could also replace copper (which is conductive) and silicon (which is semi-conductive) in future nanoprocessors.

Nanographene on metal oxides

The problem: In order to create an electronic circuit, the molecules of nanographene must be synthesised and assembled directly on an insulating or semi-conductive surface. Although metal oxides are the best materials for this purpose, in contrast to metal surfaces, direct synthesis of nanographenes on metal oxide surfaces is not possible as they are considerably less chemically reactive. The researchers would have to carry out the process at high temperatures, which would lead to several uncontrollable secondary reactions.

A team of scientists led by Dr. Konstantin Amsharov from the Chair of Organic Chemistry II have now developed a method of synthesising nanographenes on non-metallic surfaces, that is insulating surfaces or semi-conductors.

It’s all about the bond

The researchers’ method involves using a carbon fluorine bond, which is the strongest carbon bond. It is used to trigger a multilevel process. The desired nanographenes form like dominoes via cyclodehydrofluorination on the titanium oxide surface. All ‘missing’ carbon-carbon bonds are thus formed after each other in a formation that resembles a zip being closed.

This enables the researchers to create nanographenes on titanium oxide, a semi-conductor. This method also allows them to define the shape of the nanographene by modifying the arrangement of the preliminary molecules. New carbon-carbon bonds and, ultimately, nanographenes form where the researchers place the fluourine atoms.

For the first time, these research results demonstrate how carbon-based nanostructures can be manufactured by direct synthesis on the surfaces of technically-relevant semi-conducting or insulating surfaces. ‘This groundbreaking innovation offers effective and simple access to electronic nanocircuits that really work, which could scale down existing microelectronics to the nanometre scale,’ explains Dr. Amsharov.

Tags:  Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg  Graphene  Konstantin Amsharov  nanoelectronics  nanographene  Semiconductor 

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Genable® anti-corrosion technology gains further recognition

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Applied Graphene Materials, the producer of specialty graphene materials today announces that its breakthrough graphene technology Genable® 3000 has delivered outstanding anti-corrosion performance enhancement results that has led the business to be nominated for a key industry award.

Genable® is a unique metal-free additive that transforms coatings and paints enabling them to uniquely withstand aggressive corrosion in automotive, heavy industry and harsh marine environments. The results from over 3,000 hours of typical vigorous environment testing demonstrate the long-term structural resilience that AGM’s products provide against corrosion, establishing a new market standard.

The development re-affirms the Company’s compelling position and potential within the £8.1bn global coating markets and follows its recent announcement that James Briggs Limited, Europe’s largest consumer chemicals businesses, intends to bring a new range of aerosol automotive paint primers containing AGM graphene to market , setting new levels of corrosion protection in the aerosol automotive paint market.

Jim Miller, JBL’s Commercial Director commented:
"The 2 year development collaboration between JBL and AGM has resulted in our first products coming to fruition for the automotive market. Initial feedback from the market is very positive, with customers keen to see innovative products with genuine substantive performance improvements, which these products deliver through utilisation of AGM’s graphene dispersion technology.”

The momentum that AGM’s proprietary Genable® 3000 graphene technology has achieved has helped drive industry wide recognition of AGM’s expertise as an innovation leader in the coatings industry. Reflecting this, the Company has secured a nomination as a finalist in the Materials Performance Corrosion Innovation Awards 2019. The MP Corrosion Innovation Awards program acknowledges the leaders advancing understanding and development of global corrosion technology.  It is run in parallel with NACE International. Winners will be announced at the CORROSION conference 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Adrian Potts, CEO of Applied Graphene Materials commented:
“AGM’s technology is an exciting and first of its kind development for the global coatings industry. It will significantly increase the lifespan of metals in harsh environments, ensuring very attractive cost advantages for customers.  As we create new standards across the market, we are delighted to have been nominated as a Finalist for the 2019 Corrosion Industry Innovation Award, recognising our ground-breaking Genable® 3000 technology.  Our recent success with UK paint producer James Briggs and 3,000-hour trials are hugely positive and highlight our potential to bring innovation to many different industries and markets.”

Tags:  Adrian Potts  Applied Graphene Materials  Corrosion  Graphene  James Briggs  Jim Miller 

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Gratomic Submits Mining License Application

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 4, 2019

Gratomic Inc. today announced that it has submitted a full mining license application to the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The company has submitted its application for Mining License 215 (M L215). The License area falls within the proximity of the Aukam Processing Plant and the Graphite bearing shear zone for a total of 5002 hectares (5002 ha). The mining license was the last step required for the company to go into full production. The license submission is timed strategically with the construction of Gratomic's onsite processing plant located at the Aukam Graphite Mine in Namibia and in conjunction with the recently announced long-term Graphene supply agreement with Vittoria Tires and Gratomic's partner Perpetuus Advanced Materials.

Gratomic’s CO-CEO Arno Brand stated, “This marks a significant milestone in the company’s  path to commercializing its Aukam Graphite mine, through this submission of our mining license we are now able to start producing graphite from our Aukam Graphite mine at full capacity”

Tags:  Arno Brand  Graphene  Graphite  Gratomic  Perpetuus Advanced Materials  Vittoria 

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NIOSH initiates study to assess occupational exposures to graphene and other Two-Dimensional nanomaterials

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Monday, March 4, 2019

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has a mission to develop new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health.

 

NIOSH is initiating a study, with the assistance of The Graphene Council, to assess occupational exposures to graphene and other Two-Dimensional nanomaterials in commercial and industrial applications within the United States.

 

Our findings will help inform interested parties on what a representative workplace exposure currently is for these materials and establish consensus air sampling methods that can be adopted by industry and used to improve workers’ short and long-term health outcomes.

 

NIOSH is inviting companies operating within the United States to participate in this research opportunity. Exposure sampling will occur over three to four sequential days at your convenience. Workers will wear personal air sampling pumps to assess exposures within their breathing zones. Multiple processes and locations will be assessed in this way to provide a facility-wide exposure assessment.

 

For participating, your company will receive a thorough industrial hygiene report. This includes exposure characterization for all employees and sampled processes as well as recommendations for controls and methods to reduce exposures specific to your company.

 

Matthew Dahm, PhD, MPH is an industrial hygienist and is the principle investigator of this study. Seth McCormick, MPH is an industrial hygienist who will be serving as the main point of contact for those interested in participating. Please review the attached introductory letter, factsheet, and short biographies at your convenience.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the study or participating, please contact Seth by phone or email at 513-841-4575 or SMcCormick@cdc.gov. We look forward to working with you to ensure the safest possible work environment for your employees.

 

Matthew M. Dahm, PhD, MPH                                                          Seth McCormick, MPH

Research Industrial Hygienist                                                             Research Industrial Hygienist

1090 Tusculum Ave, MS-R14                                                            1090 Tusculum Ave, MS-R14

Cincinnati, OH 45226                                                                         Cincinnati, OH 45226

 

Phone: 513-458-7136                                                                         Phone: 513-841-4575

Email: mdahm@cdc.gov                                                                    Email: SMcCormick@cdc.gov

 

Introductory Letter         Fact Sheet          Bios 

Tags:  Exposure  Graphene  Health and Safety  HSE  NIOSH 

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The European Union Innovation Radar selects one technology developed in the framework of a EU project led by ICMAB

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 4, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

A technology developed by a team led by Dr. Núria Crivillers, researcher at the Nanomol Group at ICMAB, has been selected as a high potential innovation by the European Union (EU).


The EU has recently launched the Innovation Radar tool, an initiative to identify high potential innovations and innovators in EU-funded research and to increase their visibility through the Innovation Radar website, making them available to potential users and to the society. 

The innovation was developed in the framework of the FP7 project “Electrical spin manipulation in electroactive molecules” (ACMOL).

The TU-Delft partner, Dr. Burzurí and his team, advanced in a “New pre-patterning method toicate constrictions in graphene flakes”. It consists in a new approach to fabricate narrow bridges in graphene layers in order to facilitate the creation of a localized nano-gap by electroburning, and therefore nanometer-spaced graphene electrodes.

Before creating the small space between the two graphene layers, the geometry is enhanced by creating a “bow-tie-shaped” bridge using lithography techniques. This narrow bridge will improve the electroburning step, which creates the nano-gap. A single molecule can be trapped in this small space, allowing the measure of electron transport across the graphene electrodes.


This innovation is faster and more cost-effective compared with other technologies: hundreds of devices can be prepared in one single step from commercially grown graphene. This innovation opens the door to the fabrication of chips based on graphene electrodes.

Tags:  Graphene  ICMAB  Núria Crivillers 

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Graphene-alumina heterostructures show their strength

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 4, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

Heterostructures of graphene and other 2D or ultrathin materials have potential applications in sensing, electronics, and battery technology. For example, graphene transistors encapsulated with alumina (Al2O3) are of interest for flexible electronics, and graphene/metal oxide heterostructures are widely used in lithium ion batteries.

The mechanical strength, properties and stability of these structures is important for applications that make use of flexibility, or for applications that put to test the mechanical robustness of the materials, such as in high-performance electrochemical cells. Nevertheless, the mechanical properties of graphene heterostructures have not been widely and carefully investigated.



Now, an international team from the US, Germany and Spain have performed careful tests of graphene/alumina heterostructures for varying thickness of the alumina layer. The research revealed that graphene enhances the stiffness (Young’s modulus) compared to bare alumina, and that the alumina film strengthens the resistance of graphene to fracture under load. These findings indicate that such heterostructures have good mechanical strength and can thus be utilized in many devices. The measured values of stiffness and breaking strength add to the expanding body of knowledge of mechanical properties of graphene-related materials.

The method presented in the paper, published in the journal Nanotechnology, blends state-of-the-art fabrication, characterization, and calculation. The basis of the heterostructures is graphene on TEM grids, a single atomic layer of graphene deposited on a grid of circular holes. The monolayer graphene is thus suspended over the holes, making membranes with a diameter of two micrometers.

Alumina is deposited on top of the graphene with atomic layer deposition (ALD), with thickness ranging from 1.5nm to 4.5nm. The mechanical properties are tested with atomic force microscopy, by landing an extremely sharp tip on top of the membrane, pushing on the membrane and studying the deflection. In strength tests, the membrane is pushed until it ruptures under load. The resulting force-distance curves are compared to results of finite element numerical calculations, yielding a quantitative measure of the mechanical properties.

The calculations further revealed a nonintuitive shear stress distribution which indicates a maximum shear away from the line of symmetry and closer to the point of contact of diamond tip and the film, which is a key finding for reliable mechanical performance of the composite devices.

Additionally, these findings illustrate the versatility of ALD techniques for use in heterostructure fabrication, and ease of implementation of graphene into thin-film hybrid structures in order to take advantage of its superior mechanical properties.

Tags:  Battery  Graphene  Li-ion batteries  Sensors 

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Versarien PLC - Appointment of BEIS Secondee

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, February 28, 2019
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2019

Versarien plc has announced that Yi Luo is joining Versarien on secondment from the UK Government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as Deputy Head of International Strategy and Government Relations. Yi will replace Peter Jay who is returning to the Department for International Trade to take up a new senior role.

Yi will be focussed on progressing the Company's international expansion, particularly in China, working alongside Matt Walker who has been on secondment to Versarien from the DIT since May 2018.

Yi read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, majoring in chemistry, and is completing her PhD in organic chemistry at University College London, alongside her work for the UK Government.  Her previous roles in Government have included working with the DIT's London and Devolved Administrations teams, where she provided analytical insights to help achieve foreign direct investment targets. 

Following this, she was a Private Secretary for ex-BEIS Minister Lord Prior, covering technology, rail and materials.  Her most recent role was as a Senior Policy Adviser for the BEIS Future Sectors team, where she led the team's international portfolio, pushing forward the Government's robotics and drones agenda, and was responsible for publishing the artificial intelligence sector deal as part of the Government's industrial strategy to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data-driven economy.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "I would like to thank Peter for his significant contribution to Versarien over the last six months, particularly in relation to the development of our business in China.  During that period we have made substantial progress in China through entering into partnerships with a number of leading manufacturers across a variety of sectors, together with securing formal relationships with Chinese provincial government bodies.

"I look forward to Versarien benefiting from Yi's skills and experience to help further progress both our existing Chinese relationships and others that we are discussing.  I would again like to thank the BEIS and DIT for their support and I am confident that Versarien's plans in China and globally will contribute to DIT's goal of ensuring there is an economic benefit to the UK from our overseas activities."

Tags:  Graphene  Neill Ricketts  Versarien  Yi Luo 

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James Briggs to launch graphene enhanced Hycote range using AGM's material

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, February 28, 2019

James Briggs have successfully completed their Graphene products first production batch, which is a significant milestone on the path to commercial realisation.

Extensive testing has demonstrated repeated and outstanding improvements in anti-corrosion performance for their automotive aerosol primer. JBL plan to launch the new range of graphene enhanced anti-corrosion aerosols under their Hycote brand.


Graphene is a single atom layer of graphite. Its ability to form hexagonal lattice structure gives it exceptional properties in terms of strength, electricity and heat conduction.

These single atom lattice structures can stack to form layers. In coatings this lattice structure gives excellent barrier properties and in the case of our specially formulated primer, this results in excellent salt spray resistance and therefore give superior anti-corrosive performance when compared to a similar product without graphene.

Applied Graphene Materials is the supplier off graphene to James Briggs for this product. 

Tags:  Applied Graphene Materials  Graphene  Graphite  James Briggs 

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