Connecticut team designs a unique process for exfoliating graphene

Researchers at the University of Connecticut, assisted by ones from the University of Akron, have patented a unique process for exfoliating graphene, as well as manufacturing innovative graphene nanocomposites that have potential uses in a variety of applications.

The new process doesn’t require any additional steps or chemicals to produce graphene in its pristine form. “The innovation and technology behind our material is our ability to use a thermodynamically driven approach to un-stack graphite into its constituent graphene sheets, and then arrange those sheets into a continuous, electrically conductive, three-dimensional structure” says the lead scientist in the study. “The simplicity of our approach is in stark contrast to current techniques used to exfoliate graphite that rely on aggressive oxidation or high-energy mixing or sonication – the application of sound energy to separate particles – for extended periods of time. As straightforward as our process is, no one else had reported it. We proved it works”.

Researchers manipulate graphene to bring it closer to transistor applications

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory successfully manipulated the electronic structure of graphene, which may enable the fabrication of graphene transistors that could be faster and more reliable than existing silicon-based transistors.

Ames Lab manipulates graphene image

The researchers were able to theoretically calculate the mechanism by which graphene’s electronic band structure could be modified with metal atoms. The work will guide experimentally the use of the effect in layers of graphene with rare-earth metal ions “sandwiched” (intercalated) between graphene and its silicon carbide substrate. Since the metal atoms are magnetic, the additions can also modify the use of graphene for spintronics.

Nanomedical Diagnostics launches a new graphene-enhanced biosensor chip

Nanomedical Diagnostics recently announced the launch of the new graphene-enhanced NHS Agile biosensor chip. The new chip reportedly reduces the number of steps needed to gain kinetic binding data for a wide range of molecules, including small and large molecules, peptides, proteins, and antibodies. NHS biosensors are designed for use on the company’s Agile R100 label-free personal assay system.

Nanomedical Diagnostics launches new graphene sensor image

“Many pharmaceutical companies have established protocols for studying molecules using standard amine-linker chemistry,” noted Nanomedical Diagnostics' CEO. “However, traditional methods using these protocols require numerous steps on complicated machines that make experiments difficult to run and prone to variability. Our new NHS biosensor combined with the single-sample format Agile R100 allows researchers to leverage these tried and true techniques, but reduces the process greatly compared to prior systems. Both experiment complexity and results variability are decreased, which gives all researchers the ability to gain reliable label-free kinetic binding data for their molecules at their benchtop, on their schedule.”

New graphene-enhanced non-liquid lubricant shows promise for various aerospace applications

Researchers at Purdue University have created a new type of graphene-enhanced non-liquid lubricant which reduces friction and wear. The suggested applications include air compressors for missile systems and more. The new liquid-free composite is made from a slurry of graphene, zinc oxide, and the polymer polyvinylidene difluoride.

Graphene-enhanced non-liquid lubricant shows promise image

The nanosize zinc-oxide particles allow the lubricant to stick to the metal surface, and the polymer binds the whole mixture together, said the team, which also explained that solid lubricants are needed for numerous applications such as air compressors, equipment used in the food industry, space vehicles, gear-and-chain mechanisms, fasteners found in high-temperature environments, and missile systems.

Team designs aluminum-ion batteries with graphene electrode

Researchers at Clemson University in the U.S have designed a prototype Aluminum-ion battery (AIB) that uses a graphene electrode to intercalate tetrachloroaluminate (AlCl4–). The researchers have used the device to investigate the effect of defects and doping on battery performance.

Aluminum-ion batteries are gaining recognition in the scientific community as a potential alternative to Li-ion battery systems, but so far there have been many obstacles. Unlike in LIBs, where the mobile ion is Li+, aluminum forms a complex with chloride in most electrolytes and generates an anionic mobile charge carrier, usually AlCl4– or Al2Cl7–. The team at Clemson University's Nanomaterials Institute have elucidated the intercalation mechanism of the AlCl4– anion in graphene electrodes, and provided a unique insight into the influence of defects and doping on the intercalation process.

Chinese company announces new graphene-based batteries project

Shanxi Leqi Graphene Technology, a Chinese company working on graphene applications, announced a new graphene-based batteries project. The project will reportedly be divided into 2 phases: a graphene composite conductive paste project with a capacity of 7,500 tpy (expected to start pilot production in December 2017), and a second phase in which the Company will develop a graphene lithium NCA battery anode material, expected to start in July 2018 and reach pilot production in early 2019.

Reports say that the first phase received a total investment of 100 million RMB (almost $15 million USD), and phase 2 secured 200 million RMB (almost $30 million USD).

Researchers deem graphene biocompatible and proceed to grow graphene "fuzz"

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have determined that graphene is safe for neurons and non-neuronal cells and has long-term biocompatibility — opening the door for use in devices that interface with the nervous system. Following this new finding, the research team will begin to use graphene with different types of tissues to better understand cell physiology.

In a separate study, the team also found it was possible to grow graphene “fuzz”: a special kind of graphene in 3D. This was achieved by first creating a mesh of nanowires made of silicon, which acted as a surface for the graphene to grow on. Then, the team exposed the mesh to methane plasma, which resulted in carbon separating from the methane and depositing onto the mesh, forming graphene. After using various levels of methane plasma and letting the mesh “cook” for various lengths of time, the research team began to see tiny flakes or “fuzz” of graphene growing off the surface of the silicon nanowires. Unlike previous studies, the graphene was reportedly growing in three dimensions.

Carbonated water can help in extracting graphene from its substrate

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for soda water - they designed a cleaner and more environmentally friendly method to isolate graphene using carbon dioxide (CO2) in the form of carbonic acid as the electrolyte solution.

Soda water helps extract graphene from substrate image

Graphene is often synthesized by using chemical vapor deposition onto a metal substrate, typically copper foil. The issue of separating it from the metal substrate can be extremely tricky. This typically involves either dissolving away the high-purity metal or delaminating it from the substrate - which require the use of harsh chemicals that leave stubborn residue. The ultra-thin graphene also needs to be coated with a polymer support layer such as polycarbonate or PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate), which requires the use of often toxic and carcinogenic solvents.

Grolltex announces new CVD graphene facility

Grolltex logo imageGrolltex, a U.S-based advanced materials and equipment company, recently announced a large-capacity commercial lab for production of high quality CVD graphene. Grolltex states that it is now manufacturing the material in its new class 1000 clean room, producing both raw graphene as well as products made from the material, like sensors, perovskite solar cells, display materials and X-ray windows for use in spacecraft.

The new Grolltex graphene facility is said to be capable of producing large high-quality sheets of graphene for commercial sale. The Company is said to have a patented methodology to manufacture the material in a novel way that yields lower-cost materials of high quality. Grolltex leverages graphene research and patents developed at nearby University of California, San Diego.

A device made from graphene and boron nitride shows unprecedented promise for spintronics applications

Researchers from the University of Groningen developed a device made by 2D sheets of graphene and Boron-Nitride that showed unprecedented spin transport efficiency at room temperature.

Graphene-BN device with high spin transport efficiency

The research, funded by the European Union's $1 billion Graphene Flagship, uses the single-layer graphene as the core material. The researchers say that graphene is a great material for spin transport - but the spin in the graphene cannot be manipulated. To overcome this in the device, the graphene is sandwiched between two layers of boron nitride and the whole structure rests on silicon.