Graphene-based nanocomposite turns CO into CO2

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), in collaboration with scientists from IIT Kanpur and the University of Campinas, Brazil, have developed a graphene-based nanocomposite material that can selectively convert environmental carbon monoxide into less toxic carbon dioxide.

The new composite material is made of graphene and an alloy of platinum and palladium in the form of nanoparticles. In the project, graphene was used as a substrate and then “decorated” with alloy nanoparticles made of platinum and palladium. The novel catalytic structure was then used for selective oxidation of CO into CO2. The use of a metal particle of certain orientation which absorbs or interacts with CO at lower energy reportedly helped the conversion.

Talking graphene standardization with NPL's Andrew J. Pollard

Dr. Andrew J. Pollard (NPL)In November 2017, after years of work, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released its first graphene standard, the ISO/TS 80004-13:2017. The effort was led by the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

We recently discussed this interesting and important development with the NPL's Dr. Andrew J. Pollard. Dr. Andrew leads the NPL Surface and Nanoanalysis Group's research into the structural and chemical characterization of graphene and related 2D materials, and he is also a member of the ISO working group 'Measurement and Characterization' within the 'Nanotechnologies' Technical Committee (TC229), and a UK nominated expert for the international graphene standards.

Hello Andy, and thank you for this interview. We know that NPL pioneered the effort in the new ISO standard, can you tell us why do you believe such standards are of vital importance?

As a new material that has spawned an emerging industry, graphene has the potential to improve many of the products we all use every day. However, for industry around the world to be able to develop innovative products with this two-dimensional material, they need to know what the properties actually are of the materials they are using.

Spotlight: Seevix's dragline spidersilk promises elastic, strong and stable fibers

The graphene-enhanced composites market is on the rise with many applications popping up around the world. While graphene-enhanced composites are exciting and yield properties like a substantial mechanical strength and conductivity boost, other advanced materials are being developed worldwide to compete or complete graphene's attributes.

Seevix dragline spidersilk image

One such fascinating material is an artificial dragline spidersilk, developed by an Israel-based startup called Seevix Material Sciences. We contacted Dr. Shmulik Ittah, Co-Founder and CTO at Seevix Material Sciences, to give us a short review of the Company's promising material. Dragline spidersilk is known as an extremely strong fiber, that also manages to be highly elastic and stretchable. In fact, it can stretch up to 30% of its initial length. Spider silk is thus a unique phenomenon in the materials world, toting two such seemingly contradictory properties which usually do not co-reside in one material, whether natural or synthetic.

New graphene-based device can control the speed of light

Researchers at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in Korea, in cooperation with KAIST, have announced the development of a graphene-based metamaterial device that can control the speed of light.

The team explains that light is the most useful means for data transmission, but it should be converted into electrical signals in order to do that. In this process, the speed of light is slowed down due to the limitations of electronic signal processors.

Graphenea launches new GFET products

Graphenea has launched sales of GFETs (graphene field effect transistors) aimed at lowering barriers to adoption of graphene, especially the sensors market. Researchers needing GFETs for their applications, whether in gas, biosensing, or other applications, can now purhcase high-quality GFET devices.

Graphenea launches GFETs imageGraphenea's new GFETs image

Graphenea has started by launching two standard GFET-for-sensing configurations called GFET-S10 and GFET-S20, each including 36 individual GFETs on a one square centimeter die, but differing in device layout. The GFET-S10 has devices distributed evenly over the die and the GFET-S20 has the devices concentrated in the center of the die with electrical pads located at the die edge. The GFET-S20 devices all have a 2-probe geometry for probing electrical properties during sensing, whereas the GFET-S10 houses 30 devices with the Hall bar geometry and 6 with 2-probe geometry. The Hall bars enable magnetic field sensing, apart from applications in graphene device research, bioelectronics, biosensing, chemical sensing, and photodetectors that the 2-probe geometry also allows.

Graphene-based sensor learns to feel like a human

Researchers at Hanyang University in South Korea have taken a significant step towards human-like touch sensing with a sensor made of a graphene-flake film supported on a robust polyethylene naphthalate substrate. They have combined an electric sensor with a machine-learning algorithm to create a device that can feel and distinguish different surface textures. The device could find use in virtual reality, robotics and medical prosthetics.

Graphene-based tactile sensor test image

According to the team, machines can already recognize and replicate patterns associated with human speech and vision. Touch, however, is more complex to mimic because it relies on mechanoreceptors in the skin that sense tiny changes in pressure and vibrations when touching different surfaces.

Korean team measures and controls the temperature of individual graphene bubbles with a single laser beam

A team of researchers at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in Korea have measured and controlled the temperature of individual graphene bubbles with a single laser beam for the first time.

Graphene bubbles and trapped molecules image

They explain that the highly elastic and flexible nature of graphene allows for the creation of stable large bubbles, in a relatively controlled fashion. The strain and curvature introduced by the bubbles is known to tune the electronic, chemical, and mechanical properties of this material. Generally, graphene bubbles are more reactive than flat graphene, so they might be more easily decorated with chemical groups. Bubbles might serve as tiny, closed reactors, and their curved surface could provide a lens effect. Understanding how temperature varies within bubbles is an important factor for several applications.

Directa Plus to collaborate with India's Arvind on graphene-enhanced denim products

Directa Plus, producer and supplier of graphene-based products for use in consumer and industrial markets, has announced it has entered into an exclusive collaboration agreement with Arvind Limited, India’s leading textile-to-retail-and-brands conglomerate, to infuse Directa Plus’ G+ graphene-based products into their denim fabrics.

Directa Plus’ graphene-based products can be used in a variety of ways to alter or enhance the properties of conventional Denim fabrics, and to produce ‘smart’ clothing for different purposes and environments. End-users benefit from the thermal and electrical conductivity and bacteriostatic properties of G+, such as thermal regulation, heat dissipation, energy harvesting, data transmission and no-odor effect.

A team of European scientists gains deeper understanding of graphene's reactions to light absorption

A team of European scientists including ICFO in Spain, IIT in Italy, the University of Exeter, UK, and Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany have made progress in understanding the processes that take place inside graphene after it absorbs light. Their work gives an explanation of why, in some cases, graphene's conductivity increases after light absorption and in other cases, it decreases. The researchers show that this behavior correlates with the way in which energy from absorbed light flows to the graphene electrons: After light is absorbed by the graphene, the processes through which graphene electrons heat up happen extremely fast and with a very high efficiency.

Graphene's reaction to light absorption study image

For highly doped graphene (where many free electrons are present), ultrafast electron heating leads to carriers with elevated energy (hot carriers) which, in turn, leads to a decrease in conductivity. Interestingly, for weakly doped graphene (where fewer free electrons are present), electron heating leads to the creation of additional free electrons, and therefore an increase in conductivity. These additional carriers are the direct result of the gapless nature of graphene - in gapped materials, electron heating does not lead to additional free carriers.

Japanese team designs a graphene-based electrode that can produce hydrogen under acidic conditions

Researchers at the Japanese Tsukuba University described a graphene-based electrode that can produce hydrogen under acidic conditions. The electrolysis of water to generate hydrogen is vital for energy storage in a green economy. One of the major obstacles, however, is the high cost of noble-metal electrodes. Cheaper non-noble electrodes function well in driving the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), but mainly in alkaline conditions, where the reaction is electricity-hungry. The more efficient acid-phase reaction requires precious metals such as platinum. Worse still, the acid electrolytes are corrosive and eat away at the core metal.

Perforated graphene for hydrogen production image

The researchers have found that holey graphene offers a way around this problem. They used nitrogen-doped graphene sheets to encapsulate a nickel–molybdenum (NiMo) electrode alloy. The graphene was punched full of nanometer-size holes. The researchers showed that in acid conditions, their HER system dramatically outperforms an electrode using regular non-holey graphene. The use of graphene in HER electrodes is not new—this flexible, conductive carbon sheet is ideal for wrapping around the core metal. However, although it protects the metal against corrosion, graphene also suppresses its chemical activity. In the Tsukuba system, the holes promote the reaction in two ways, while the intact graphene part protects the metal.