Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UCLA chemists report new method for producing carbon nanoscrolls, an alternative to nanotubes


UCLA chemists report in the Feb. 28 issue of Science a room-temperature chemical method for producing a new form of carbon called carbon nanoscrolls. Nanoscrolls are closely related to the much touted carbon nanotubes -- which may have numerous industrial applications -- but have significant advantages over them, said Lisa Viculis and Julia Mack, the lead authors of the Science article and graduate students in the laboratory of Richard B. Kaner, UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

"If nanotubes can live up to all their predicted promise, then we believe that we have a method for making analogous materials for a fraction of the cost," Mack said.

Nanotubes are pure carbon sheets in a tubular form, capped at each end. Viculis and Mack’s carbon nanoscrolls are also pure carbon but the sheets are curled up, without the caps on the ends, potentially allowing access to significant additional surface area. While nanotubes are normally made at high temperatures, nanoscrolls can be produced at room temperature.

"Our method involves scrolling sheets of graphite, which could give us a much higher surface area," Viculis said.

"If we can access the entire surface area on both sides of the carbon sheets -- unlike with carbon nanotubes, where only the outside surface is accessible -- then we could adsorb twice the amount of hydrogen -- an enormous increase," Mack said, "improving on hydrogen storage for fuel (an alternative to fossil fuels)."

"Nanoscrolls can be made by a relatively inexpensive and scalable process at low temperatures," Mack said. "Our starting materials are just graphite and potassium metal. The idea is beautiful in its simplicity."

"Carbon surfaces are known to adsorb hydrogen. A difficulty with using hydrogen as a fuel source for cars, instead of gas, is obtaining a material capable of storing enough hydrogen to make the approach feasible," Viculis said.

"Carbon nanoscrolls could make pollution-free, hydrogen-powered cars better than they would otherwise be," said Kaner, the third co-author on the Science paper. "This research is a good start. We have a long way to go. For this approach to work well, we need to get down to individual carbon layers, and we are not there yet. On average, the nanoscrolls are 40 layers thick. We have not yet realized the full surface area or all the properties we are after. The challenge is to reduce the nanoscrolls to individual layers. We have many good leads, and have started new collaborations."

The research may lead to numerous applications.

"For electronic applications, nanotubes may work well," Kaner said. "For applications where high surface area is important -- such as hydrogen storage, or energy storage in super-capacitors -- these nanoscrolls may be better."

Other possible applications for nanoscrolls, Kaner said, include lightweight but strong materials for planes and cars, and improved graphite-based tennis rackets and golf clubs.

Kaner, Viculis and Mack are collaborating on mechanical properties and applications with H. Thomas Hahn, UCLA’s Raytheon Professor of Manufacturing Engineering, and chair of the UCLA Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

"We see this research as a jumping-off point," Viculis said. "We believe it will give people ideas. Colleagues are finding us for collaborations, in engineering as well as chemistry."

Viculis, Mack and Kaner, who have been working on this project together for more than two years, have continued to make significant progress even in the time since they submitted the Science paper.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and UCLA’s Academic Senate.

Stuart Wolpert | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>