Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rethinking the Basic Science of Graphene Synthesis

08.09.2014

A new route to making graphene has been discovered that could make the 21st century’s wonder material easier to ramp up to industrial scale. Graphene – a tightly bound single layer of carbon atoms with super strength and the ability to conduct heat and electricity better than any other known material – has potential industrial uses that include flexible electronic displays, high-speed computing, stronger wind turbine blades, and more efficient solar cells, to name just a few under development.

In the decade since Nobel laureates Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim proved the remarkable electronic and mechanical properties of graphene, researchers have been hard at work to develop methods of producing pristine samples of the material on a scale with industrial potential. Now, a team of Penn State scientists has discovered a route to making single layer graphene that has been overlooked for more than 150 years.


Mallouk Lab, Penn State

Intercalation of graphite using Brønsted acids produces pristine single layer graphene.

“There are lots of layered materials similar to graphene with interesting properties, but until now we didn’t know how to chemically pull the solids apart to make single sheets without damaging the layers,” said Thomas E. Mallouk, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State.

In a paper first published online Sept. 9 in the journal Nature Chemistry, Mallouk and colleagues at Penn State and the Research Center for Exotic Nanocarbons at Shinshu University, Japan, describe a method called intercalation, in which guest molecules or ions are inserted between the carbon layers of graphite to pull the single sheets apart.

The intercalation of graphite was achieved in 1841, but always with a strong oxidizing or reducing agent that damaged the desirable properties of the material. One of the mostly widely used methods to intercalate graphite by oxidation was developed in 1999 by Nina Kovtyukhova, a research associate in Mallouk’s lab.

While studying other layered materials, Mallouk asked Kovtyukhova to use her method, which requires a strong oxidizing agent and a mixture of acids, to open up single layers of solid boron nitride, a compound with a structure similar to graphene. To their surprise, she was able to get all of the layers to open up. In subsequent control experiments, Kovtyukhova tried leaving out various agents and found that the oxidizing agent wasn’t necessary for the reaction to take place.

Mallouk asked her to try a similar experiment without the oxidizing agent on graphite, but aware of the extensive literature saying that the oxidizing agent was required, Kovtyukhova balked.

“I kept asking her to try it and she kept saying no,” Mallouk said. “Finally, we made a bet, and to make it interesting I gave her odds. If the reaction didn’t work I would owe her $100, and if it did she would owe me $10. I have the ten dollar bill on my wall with a nice Post-it note from Nina complimenting my chemical intuition.”

Mallouk believes the results of this new understanding of intercalation in boron nitride and graphene could apply to many other layered materials of interest to researchers in the Penn State Center for Two-Dimensional and Layered Materials who are investigating what are referred to as “Materials Beyond Graphene.” The next step for Mallouk and colleagues will be to figure out how to speed the reaction up in order to scale up production.

Their results appear in the Nature Chemistry article titled “Non-oxidative intercalation and exfoliation of graphite by Brønsted acids” (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2054) by Nina I. Kovtyukhova, Yuanxi Wang, Ayse Berkdemir, Mauricio Terrones, Vincent H. Crespi and Thomas E. Mallouk, all of Penn State, and Rodolfo Cruz-Silva of the Research Center for Exotic Nanocarbons, Shinshu University, Nagano, Japan. Their work was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office MURI grant W911NF-11-1-0362. Contact Prof. Mallouk at tom@chem.psu.edu.

About the Center for Two Dimensional and Layered Materials at Penn State

The 2DLM Center conducts multidisciplinary research in the fast emerging field of atomically thin layered materials. Based in Penn State’s Materials Research Institute, the Center works with industry partners, national labs, and academic collaborators to discover and predict new properties that arise when novel materials are created one atomic layer at a time. Visit the website at http://www.mri.psu.edu/centers/2dlm

Contact Information

Walter Mills
Associate Editor Publications
wem12@psu.edu
Phone: 814-865-0285

Walter Mills | newswise

Further reports about: Rethinking acids discovered graphene graphite intercalation materials oxidizing properties reaction

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells
11.12.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires
07.12.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>