Russian scientists have developed a technique that allows them to visualize defects on the surface of graphene. The technique may ultimately help scientists develop a better understanding of graphene’s properties in order to find novel applications for this supermaterial.
The technique, developed by researchers at the Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry in a collaborative project, employs the metal palladium, which interacts with “carbon reactivity centres” found on graphene. Graphene is an incredibly strong one-atom-thick layer of carbon touted to be an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.
Several types of defects on graphene surfaces are known to increase the reactivity of its carbon atoms: i.e. their ability to form chemical bonds. If researchers can locate these defects and manipulate them, they will be able to maximize the use of graphene’s properties.
For example, locating and removing defects is important for applications that require perfectly smooth graphene. In other applications, such as in catalysis and certain biomedical materials, some defects are actually beneficial because they allow the incorporation of additional elements, such as metals, into the graphene.
When the palladium complex Pd2(dba)3 is dissolved in chloroform, it forms a dark red solution under normal circumstances. But when graphene or another carbon material is added to the solution, the palladium is completely consumed. As a result, the solution turns from dark red to colourless.
Using advanced imaging techniques, the researchers found that the palladium clusters selectively attach to graphene’s surface according to specific patterns, depending on how reactive the carbon centres are. Individual palladium particles settle onto point defects, local accumulations of particles are present on larger defects, and short chains outline linear defects.
These defects are normally invisible under an electron microscope. The palladium particles act like a contrast agent, allowing the spatial imaging of the chemical reactivity, and thus the defects, of graphene layers.
“Metal mapping of carbon materials provides unique insights and reveals hidden information about fascinating properties at the molecular level,” says project leader Professor Valentine Ananikov.
The team’s findings indicate that using palladium markers, more than 2,000 surface defects, or reactivity centres, on graphene can be individually located, per square micrometre of surface area. The researchers say that the unexpected capacity of graphene to accommodate so many reactivity centres challenges scientists to re-examine their understanding of the electronic and structural properties of carbon materials.
Now that the researchers have learned how to recognise and characterise the defects, their next step is to develop a technique to control them. Some defects possess a dynamic nature and have the ability to “migrate” over graphene’s surface. If the researchers can control this migration, they will have a unique opportunity to form materials with customised properties. This is an outstanding direction for future studies, they say.
For further information contact:
Professor Valentine P. Ananikov
Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry
Ananikov Laboratory | Research SEA
New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
23.06.2017 | North Carolina State University
Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
29.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.06.2017 | Life Sciences
29.06.2017 | Seminars Workshops