Graphene "cages" may open the door to silicon Li-ion battery anodes

A team of scientists at Stanford University and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has come up with a possible answer to the question of how to make lithium-ion battery anodes out of silicon, as these tend to swell and crack, as well as react with the battery electrolyte to form a coating that harms their performance.

The scientists wrapped each silicon anode particle in a custom-fit "cage" made of graphene, in a simple, three-step method for building microscopic graphene cages of just the right size: roomy enough to let the silicon particle expand as the battery charges, yet tight enough to hold all the pieces together when the particle falls apart, so it can continue to function at high capacity. The strong, flexible cages also block destructive chemical reactions with the electrolyte.

Graphene may enable electrodes that can be implanted in the brain

An interdisciplinary team, whose collaboration was coordinated by the University of Trieste in Italy and the Cambridge Graphene Centre, has successfully demonstrated how it is possible to interface graphene with neurons, or nerve cells, while maintaining the integrity of these vital cells. This innovative work may enable building graphene-based electrodes that can be safely implanted in the brain, offering promise for the restoration of sensory functions for amputee or paralysed patients, or for individuals with motor disorders such as epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease.

Previous work has shown that it is possible to use treated graphene to interact with neurons. However, the signal to noise ratio from this interface was very low. By developing methods of working with untreated graphene, the researchers retained the material’s electrical conductivity, making it a significantly better electrode.

Skeleton Technologies secures €4 million investment for development of graphene supercapacitors

Skeleton Technologies, the graphene-enhanced supercapacitor manufacturer, has received a €4 million investment from KIC InnoEnergy, an investment company dedicated to promoting sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe’s energy industry.

The €4m investment from KIC InnoEnergy will be used to further develop the competitive advantage of Skeleton Technologies’ supercapacitors. The company aims to reach the ambitious target of 20 Wh/kg energy density for its technology by 2020. The company will use the funds to further optimize electrode and cell design to allow for higher working voltages.

Graphene-based sensors could enable quick and simple breast cancer detection

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have used graphene to create a pressure sensor that remains accurate even when bent double. The researchers said it can be folded over a radius of just 80 micrometers, about the same as a human hair, and still measure pressure changes.

The sensor was created by adding carbon nanotubes and graphene to an elastic polymer, spinning these out to create nanofibres which were then entangled to form a lightweight, thin, transparent structure. It consists of organic transistors and a pressure sensitive nanofibre structure. The sensor itself is just 8 micrometres thick, yet can record pressure changes in 144 locations at once. These properties make it an ideal choice for clinical gloves and mean that breast cancer detection could become much faster and more reliable.

Spanish Navy initiates graphene bulletproof vest research

The Spanish Navy will conduct a research on the use of graphene in ballistic protection systems, along with Marine Corps Eastern Tercio and the Algameca Naval Station, and the Cartagena Polytechnic University (UPCT) in Spain.

Composed of a multidisciplinary team of UPCT researchers and the Ministry of Defense’s Weapons and Material Directorate, the 18-month project will be held at the Algameca Naval Station. It includes the design and manufacturing of an Experimental Integrated Ballistic System with live ammunition, based on NATO standards, also producing a series of nanocomposites (composite materials based on nanotechnology) against ballistic impacts with live fire.

Graphenea announces increased capacity and reduced prices

Graphenea logoSpain-based Graphenea announced reduced prices on products and increased production capacity in 2016. Improving the material quality of staple products remains a key strategy for Graphenea, alongside limited strategic expansion of the product offering.

Graphenea states that improvements in process productivity will lead to reduced graphene prices this year. In particular, the price of CVD graphene film will decrease in all categories by 23% on average this year, as the company intends to provide a very competitive offer on all substrates and sizes to support their customers’ research. Prices of graphene on custom substrates will decrease by 27%, making it easier for researchers to work on their own substrate. The price of graphene oxide (GO) for research will decrease by 33% on average. 

Researchers at Northwestern U use crumpled graphene balls to improve oil's performance

Researchers at Northwestern University targeted the problem of fuel waste in automobiles due to friction, and tested crumpled graphene balls as a lubricant additive. In a series of tests, oil modified with crumpled graphene balls outperformed some commercial lubricants by 15%, both in terms of reducing friction and the degree of wear on steel surfaces.

Crumpled graphene balls are a novel type of ultrafine particles that resemble crumpled paper balls. The particles are made by drying tiny water droplets with graphene-based sheets inside. The scientists explain that capillary force generated by the evaporation of water crumples the sheets into miniaturized paper balls, just like how we might crumple a piece of paper with our hands.

Applied Graphene Materials confirms raising £8.5m in a shares sale

Applied Graphene Materials logoApplied Graphene Materials recently reported its intentions of raising capital to scale up its production facilities in a share sale. Now, the company confirmed raising of about £8.5m from a shares sale, which should help increase production.

Company representatives added that the fundraising followed a year of good progress, which included collaborations with international partners, and that its main focus remains on driving forward opportunities to win orders and become a leading graphene provider.

Applied Graphene Materials goes into graphene-enhanced anti-corrosion paint development

Applied Graphene Materials logoUK-based Applied Graphene Materials is collaborating with US paint company Sherwin-Williams Protective and Marine Coatings, and corrosion management operation TWI Limited, in a venture to develop graphene-based anti-corrosion paints.

The companies added that the scheme, co-funded by the Government’s innovation body, could have a major impact on corrosion, which is estimated to cost the UK economy about £10 billion every year in repairs on equipment used in the construction, petrochemical and transport sectors.