Graphene nanoplatelets show potential as catalysts for dye sensitized solar cells

Swansea University researchers, along with Haydale, examined the feasibility of using carbon materials as catalysts for dye sensitized solar cells (DSCs), a potentially low-cost alternative to silicon-based solar cells.

Graphene for solar (DSSC), Haydale and Swansea article photo

Haydale HDPlas low pressure cold plasma technology was used to introduce functional groups onto graphene. This is a process known to improve the material’s performance as a counter electrode in DSCs as it improves the dispersion of carbon nanomaterials without the need for surfactants and decreases the density of the powder without increasing the SSA (Specific Surface Area – a useful way to quantify nanostructure and estimate catalytic activity).

The world's first graphene-enhanced fishing rods by G-RODS

G-RODS is a new American fishing rod company that aims to revolutionize the fishing world by introducing graphene to the industry. The company is said to be carrying a selection of 55 products already on the market, all fishing rods, that contain graphene. The rods are claimed to be amongst the best in the world, wielding great power, sensitivity and responsiveness.
The rods are made of a toray carbon fiber-graphene blend, and the graphene is integrated inside each layer of the rod's blank construction to give it tremendous strength (about 30%-50% more strength than a 100% carbon fiber rod).  Since some of carbon fiber has been replaced with graphene inside the blank layers, the rods are much lighter, around 30%-50% lighter than rods made with graphite and carbon fiber. The rods are already available on the company's site and are divided into groups according to the type of fish they are meant to be used on. The price range is around $90-$800.

Graphene enables diffraction masks thin enough for matter wave optics

a collaboration of European scientists focused on the idea that even massive particles can behave like waves, as if they could be in several places at once. This phenomenon is typically proven in the diffraction of a matter wave at a grating. The scientists observed the delocalization of molecules at the thinnest possible graphene-based grating. 

The quantum mechanical wave nature of matter is the basis for a number of modern technologies like high resolution electron microscopy, neutron-based studies on solid state materials or highly sensitive inertial sensors working with atoms. The research focused on how it is possible to extend such technologies to large molecules and cluster. In order to demonstrate the quantum mechanical nature of a massive object, it must be delocalized first. This is achieved by relying on Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation: If molecules are emitted from a point-like source, they start to ‘forget’ their position after a while and delocalize. If you place a grating into their way, they cannot know, not even in principle, through which slit they are flying. It is as if they traversed several slits at the same time. This results in a characteristic distribution of particles behind the grating, known as the diffraction or interference pattern.

GNRs undergo successful boron-doping for possible sensor applications

Scientists at the University of Basel have managed to synthesize boron-doped graphene nanoribbons and characterize their structural, electronic and chemical properties. The modified material could potentially be used as a sensor for ecologically damaging nitrogen oxides.

Altering graphene sheets to nanoribbon shape is known as a way of inducing a bandgap, whose value is dependent on the width of the shape. To tune the band gap in order for the graphene nanoribbons to act like a silicon semiconductor, the ribbons usually undergo doping. That means the researchers intentionally introduce impurities into pure material for the purpose of modulating its electrical properties. While nitrogen doping has been realized, boron-doping has remained unexplored. Subsequently, the electronic and chemical properties have stayed unclear thus far.

Haydale and Cardiff U collaborate to examine component-scale composites using functionalized graphene and CNTs

Haydale logoA collaboration between researchers from Cardiff University and Haydale conducted a study focused on component-scale hierarchical composites using nanocarbons, mainly graphene and CNTs. The team's main aim was to explore techniques for component-scale manufacture of hierarchical composites by liquid infusion.

A plasma process, developed by Haydale, was adopted for controllable functionalization of large batches of nanocarbons (100s of grams) prior to mixing with epoxy resin. A rheological study indicated that filler morphology, functionalization and fill weight all have an effect on epoxy resin viscosity. Using these developed nanocomposite resins, a resin infusion under flexible tooling (RIFT) technique was developed. Resin flow studies informed an optimum setup that facilitated full wet-out of large area UD carbon fibre laminates and the resulting materials showed significant improvements in mechanical properties, demonstrating up to ~50% increase in compression after impact (CAI) properties.

Spanish university develops graphene-based catalysts for the energy industry

Researchers at the Spanish Universitat Jaume I have developed graphene-based materials that can catalyse reactions for the conversion and storage of energy. The technology combines graphene and organometallic compounds in a single material without altering graphene's properties like electrical conductivity.

The technology is expected to be of great interest to the energy industry and is part of what is known as "hydrogen economy", an alternative energetic model in which energy is stored as hydrogen. In this regard, the materials (patented by the UJI) allow catalysing reactions for obtaining hydrogen from alcohols and may also serve as storage systems of this gas.

Graphene oxide's inherent defects provide a mechanical surprise

Scientists at Northwestern University have found how graphene oxide's inherent defects may present an interesting mechanical property. It seems that graphene oxide exhibits remarkable plastic deformation before breaking; While graphene is very strong, it can still break suddenly. It was found that graphene oxide, however, will deform first before eventually breaking.

The researchers used an experimentation and modeling approach to examine the mechanics of GO at the atomic level. Their discovery could potentially unlock the secret to successfully scaling up graphene oxide, an area that has been limited because its building blocks have not been well understood.

High temperature reduction process increases thermal conductivity of rGO

A collaborative research performed by scientists from UC Riverside, Moldova State University, and Graphenea demonstrates that a method of reducing graphene oxide to graphene via a high-temperature treatment that increases thermal conductivity along the film direction, while decreasing it across the film. The scientists stress the potential of using this method for thermal management applications, such as fillers in thermal interface materials or flexible heat spreaders for cooling electronics. 

The research shows that thermal conductivity of GO can be majorly increased (nearly 30 times) by bringing GO to a high temperature during a reduction process. It appears that GO, when heated to 1000°C, turns to reduced GO (rGO) that has a high thermal conductivity along the sheet plane. In contrast, thermal conductivity perpendicular to the sheet shows an opposite trend, decreasing with thermal treatment.

Graphene can greatly improve the through-thickness of composites

Scientists at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with Haydale, studied the effects of adding nanoscale reinforcements like graphene nanoplatelets and CNTs to metals in hopes of improving their through-thickness.

Haydale poster - fracture toughness of multi-scale composites

They discovered that through-thickness could indeed be greatly improved, thus solving a major hindrance of composites that are otherwise known as having many superior properties. The results of this study may benefit fields that require light materials that are also durable, like the aerospace industry.

Graphene can act as a protective layer for 2D materials otherwise sensitive to air

Scientists at the University of Manchester demonstrated how tailored fabrication methods can make a variety of previously inaccessible 2D materials available - by solving the problem of their negative reaction in air.

To do that, the scientists protected the reactive crystals with more stable 2D materials like graphene, via computer control in a specially designed inert gas chamber environments. The technique allowed these materials to be successfully isolated to a single atomic layer for the first time. Combining a range of 2D materials in thin stacks gives scientists the opportunity to control the properties of the materials, which can allow “materials-to-order” to meet the demands of industry. It could allow for many more atomically thin materials to be studied separately as well as serve as building blocks for multilayer devices with tailored properties.