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 Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump
14.11.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Automated adhesive film placement and stringer integration for aircraft manufacture
15.11.2018 | Fraunhofer IFAM

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers

15.11.2018 | Information Technology

Insect Antibiotic Provides New Way to Eliminate Bacteria

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

New findings help to better calculate the oceans’ contribution to climate regulation

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>