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Graphene is wonderful – The Graphene Flagship project presents innovations in Brussels

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, September 26, 2019
European Commission funded research project, the Graphene Flagship, will demonstrate a selection of the project’s most exciting innovations at the Science is Wonderful exhibition in Brussels, Belgium, on 25 and 26 September 2019. The free exhibition, held at Tour & Taxis, a redeveloped industrial space in Brussels, is part of the European Research and Innovation Days and aims to bring a world of science and technology to the general public.

Demonstrations from the Graphene Flagship include technology that has been developed for human health and wellbeing. For example, a graphene-based brain implant that could be used to provide information on the onset of seizures. The new technology, which has been developed by Graphene Flagship partners the Microelectronic Institute of Barcelona (IMB-CNM, CSIC), the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and ICFO, demonstrates a major step in understanding the functions of the human brain.

The exhibition will also showcase examples of graphene dispersions and graphite electrodes manufactured by Graphene Flagship partner Talga. As a high-tech materials company and a leader in bulk graphene and graphite supply, Talga will demonstrate how graphene can easily be exfoliated from graphite, illustrating the journey from material exfoliation, right through to commercialisation.

Other demonstrations at Science is Wonderful include a newly developed virtual reality (VR) system which can be used to construct, manipulate and build graphene and other layered material structures. Developed by Graphene Flagship partner the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the VR system demonstrates clearly how graphene can be modified and manipulated, with the ability to edit molecules and perform calculations on their electronic properties in real-time.

The VR system gives students and other citizens an unforgettable, low-barrier to entry for the complex machinery of atomic-scale materials and technology. However, it can also provide even experienced researchers with a unique sandbox for scientific problem solving, quantitative analysis, idea generation and discovery.

“The Graphene Flagship’s presence at Science is Wonderful will bolster its efforts to promote the use of graphene in commercial products,” explained Jari Kinaret, director of the Graphene Flagship. “During the first five years of our ambitious Graphene Flagship project, we managed to bring together academic researchers and industrial business leaders to create and commercialise technologies that are already improving European society — the demonstrations at Science is Wonderful will showcase some beautiful examples.”

Tags:  CSIC  Graphene  Graphene Flagship  Healthcare  ICFO  ICN2  Jari Kinaret  Technical University of Denmark 

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XG Sciences Adds Engine Oil Additives to Growing List of Commercial Applications Leveraging its Graphene-Based Products

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
XG Sciences announced today commercial adoption of its products for use in engine oil. HELLA, an innovative family-owned company serving the automotive and industrial markets with revenue of €7 Billion in the fiscal year 2018/2019, completed a successful launch of a new line of engine oil additives incorporating XG Sciences’ graphene nanoplatelets to improve performance.

The engine oil additive product was marketed in Korea where the first 25,000 units sold out within 100 days. Based on this success, HELLA extended distribution to China and Japan and may extend use of graphene nanoplatelets to other lubrication-related products. HELLA’s graphene-enhanced lubricant is specially formulated to reduce wear and friction in internal combustion engines delivering a range of benefits including extended engine life, reduced engine vibration, improved power output, 50% reduction in engine wear, improved fuel economy and enhanced ride comfort.

First isolated and characterized in 2004, graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms. Among many noted properties, monolayer graphene is harder than diamonds, lighter than steel but significantly stronger, and conducts electricity better than copper. Graphene nanoplatelets are particles consisting of multiple layers of graphene with unique capabilities for energy storage, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, barrier properties, lubricity and the ability to impart physical property improvements when incorporated into plastics, metals or other matrices.

“XG Sciences is excited to accelerate the performance of HELLA’s engine oil additive through use of our graphene nanoplatelets. HELLA’s adoption provides another example of the potential for this revolutionary material and further demonstrates the power of our graphene nanoplatelets,” said Bamidele Ali, Chief Commercial Officer, XG Sciences.

Tags:  Automotive  Bamidele Ali  Graphene  HELLA  XG Sciences 

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First Graphene to develop graphene-based energy storage materials for supercapacitors

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
First Graphene has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the University of Manchester to develop graphene-hybrid materials for use in supercapacitors. The licencing agreement is for patented technology for the manufacture of metal oxide decorated graphene materials, using a proprietary electrochemical process.

The graphene-hybrid materials will have the potential to create a new generation of supercapacitors, for use in applications ranging from electric vehicles to elevators and cranes. Supercapacitors offer high power-density energy storage, with the possibility of multiple charge/discharge cycles and short charging times. The market for supercapacitor devices is forecast to grow at 20% per year to approximately USD 2.1 billion by 2022. Growth may, however, be limited by the availability of suitable
materials.

Supercapacitors typically use microporous carbon nanomaterials, which have a gravimetric capacitance between 50 and 150 Farads/g. Research carried out by the University of Manchester shows that high capacitance materials incorporating graphene are capable of reaching up to 500 Farads/g. This will significantly increase the operational performance of supercapacitors in a wide range of applications, as well as increasing the available supply of materials.

Published research1 by Prof. Robert Dryfe and Prof. Ian Kinloch of The University of Manchester reveals how high capacity, microporous materials can be manufactured by the electrochemical processing of graphite raw materials. These use transition metal ions to create metal oxide decorated graphene materials, which have an extremely high gravimetric capacitance, to 500 Farads/g.

Prof. Dryfe has secured funding from the UK EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Council) for further optimisation of metal oxide/graphene materials. Following successful completion of this study, FGR is planning to build a pilot-scale production unit at its laboratories within the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC). It is anticipated that this will be the first step in volume production in the UK, to enable the introduction of these materials to supercapacitor device manufacturers.

Andy Goodwin, Chief Technology Officer of First Graphene Ltd says: “This investment is a direct result of our presence at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre. It emphasises the importance of effective external relationships with university research partners. The programme is also aligned with the UK government’s industrial strategy grand challenges and we’ll be pursuing further support for the development of our business within the UK.”

James Baker, Chief Executive of Graphene@Manchester, added: “We are really pleased with this further development of our partnership with First Graphene. The University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre is playing a key role in supporting the acceleration of graphene products and applications through the development of a critical supply chain of material supply and in the development of applications for industry. This latest announcement marks a significant step in our Graphene City developments, which looks to create a unique innovation ecosystem here in the Manchester city-region, the home of graphene.”

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  Energy Storage  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre  Ian Kinloch  James Baker  nanomaterials  Robert Dryfe  supercapacitors  University of Manchester 

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Clarification of a new synthesis mechanism of semiconductor atomic sheet

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
In Japan Science and Technology Agency's Strategic Basic Research Programs, Associate Professor Toshiaki Kato and Professor Toshiro Kaneko of the Department of Electronic Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University succeeded in clarifying a new synthesis mechanism regarding transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD)1), which are semiconductor atomic sheets having thickness in atomic order.

Because it is difficult to directly observe the aspect of the growing process of TMD in a special environment, the initial growth process remained unclear, and it has been desirable to elucidate a detailed mechanism of synthesis to obtain high-quality TMD.

An in-situ observing synthesis method2) has been developed by our research group to examine the growth aspect of TMD as a real-time optical image in a special high temperature atmosphere of about 800°C in the presence of corrosive gases. In addition, a synthesis substrate, which is a mechanism to control diffusion during the crystal growth of a precursor3), has been developed in advance; further, it has been clarified that the growing precursor diffuses a distance about 100 times larger than in conventional semiconductor materials. 

It was also demonstrated that nucleation occurs due to the involvement of the precursor in a droplet state. Furthermore, by utilizing this method, a large-scale integration of more than 35,000 monolayer single crystal atomic sheets has been achieved on a substrate in a practical scale (Figure 1).

Utilizing the results of the present research, the large-scale integration of atomic-order thick4) semiconductor atomic sheets can be fabricated and is expected to be put into practical use in the field of next-generation flexible electronics.

Tags:  Electronics  Graphene  Semiconductor  Tohoku University  Toshiaki Kato  Toshiro Kaneko 

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Nanochains could increase battery capacity, cut charging time

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
How long the battery of your phone or computer lasts depends on how many lithium ions can be stored in the battery's negative electrode material. If the battery runs out of these ions, it can't generate an electrical current to run a device and ultimately fails.

Materials with a higher lithium ion storage capacity are either too heavy or the wrong shape to replace graphite, the electrode material currently used in today's batteries.

Purdue University scientists and engineers have introduced a potential way that these materials could be restructured into a new electrode design that would allow them to increase a battery's lifespan, make it more stable and shorten its charging time.

The study, appearing as the cover of the September issue of Applied Nano Materials, created a net-like structure, called a "nanochain," of antimony, a metalloid known to enhance lithium ion charge capacity in batteries.

The researchers compared the nanochain electrodes to graphite electrodes, finding that when coin cell batteries with the nanochain electrode were only charged for 30 minutes, they achieved double the lithium-ion capacity for 100 charge-discharge cycles.

Some types of commercial batteries already use carbon-metal composites similar to antimony metal negative electrodes, but the material tends to expand up to three times as it takes in lithium ions, causing it to become a safety hazard as the battery charges.

"You want to accommodate that type of expansion in your smartphone batteries. That way you're not carrying around something unsafe," said Vilas Pol, a Purdue associate professor of chemical engineering.

Through applying chemical compounds -- a reducing agent and a nucleating agent -- Purdue scientists connected the tiny antimony particles into a nanochain shape that would accommodate the required expansion. The particular reducing agent the team used, ammonia-borane, is responsible for creating the empty spaces -- the pores inside the nanochain -- that accommodate expansion and suppress electrode failure.

The team applied ammonia-borane to several different compounds of antimony, finding that only antimony-chloride produced the nanochain structure.

"Our procedure to make the nanoparticles consistently provides the chain structures," said P. V. Ramachandran, a professor of organic chemistry at Purdue.

The nanochain also keeps lithium ion capacity stable for at least 100 charging-discharging cycles. "There's essentially no change from cycle 1 to cycle 100, so we have no reason to think that cycle 102 won't be the same," Pol said.

Henry Hamann, a chemistry graduate student at Purdue, synthesized the antimony nanochain structure and Jassiel Rodriguez, a Purdue chemical engineering postdoctoral candidate, tested the electrochemical battery performance.

The electrode design has the potential to be scalable for larger batteries, the researchers say. The team plans to test the design in pouch cell batteries next.

Tags:  batteries  Battery  Graphene  Henry Hamann  Jassiel Rodriguez  Li-ion  nanomaterials  P. V. Ramachandran  Purdue University  Vilas Pol 

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AGM at the Western Coatings Show 2019

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Applied Graphene Materials are exhibiting at Western Coatings Show in Las Vegas, on 20-23 October 2019.

At the show AGM will be promoting their Genable® range which delivers outstanding enhancements to anti-corrosion and barrier performance, while providing opportunities to further optimise other coating characteristics. AGM will soon be promoting a new addition to the Genable® range.

Andy Gent will be giving a presentation titled: Corrosion: Meeting Tomorrows Performance Needs with Graphene Nano-Platelets.

John Willhite and Adrian Potts will also be at stand 332 to answer any questions you may have. You can contact them on +44 (0)1642 438214, or, by e-mail at info@appliedgraphenematerials.com.

Tags:  Adrian Potts  Andy Gent  Applied Graphene Materials  coatings  Graphene  John Willhite 

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Conductivity at the edges of graphene bilayers

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, September 18, 2019
The conductivity of dual layers of graphene greatly depends on the states of carbon atoms at their edges; a property which could have important implications for information transmissions on quantum scales.

Made from 2D sheets of carbon atoms arranged in honeycomb lattices, graphene displays a wide array of properties regarding the conduction of heat and electricity.

When two layers of graphene are stacked on top of each other to form a 'bilayer', these properties can become even more interesting. At the edges of these bilayers, for example, atoms can sometimes exist in an exotic state of matter referred to as the 'quantum spin Hall' (QSH) state, depending on the nature of the interaction between their spins and their motions, referred to as their 'spin-orbit coupling' (SOC). While the QSH state is allowed for 'intrinsic' SOC, it is destroyed by 'Rashba' SOC. In an article recently published in EPJ B, Priyanka Sinha and Saurabh Basu from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati showed that these two types of SOC are responsible for variations in the ways in which graphene bilayers conduct electricity.

For nanoribbons of bilayer graphene, whose edge atoms are arranged in zigzag patterns, the authors showed that the bands of electron energies which are allowed and forbidden are significantly different to those found in monolayer graphene. For intrinsic SOC, the QSH state even caused atoms in the zigzag to have a gap between these bands, which disappeared in odd atoms. However, this asymmetry disappeared for Rashba SOC, which changed the relationship between the energy required to add an electron to the bilayer, and its conductivity.

This conduction sensitivity to the states of edge atoms shows that graphene bilayers could be particularly useful for spintronics applications. This field studies how quantum spins can be used to efficiently transmit information, which is of particular interest to researchers in fields like quantum computing. Sinha and Basu also found that the characteristic SOC behaviours they uncovered persisted with or without voltage across the bilayers, which dispelled theories that this aspect could prevent the QSH state from forming. Their work furthers our knowledge of graphene bilayers, potentially opening up new areas of research into their intriguing properties.

Tags:  2D  Graphene  Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati  Priyanka Sinha  Saurabh Basu 

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New health monitors are flexible, transparent and graphene enabled

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New technological devices are prioritizing non-invasive tracking of vital signs not only for fitness monitoring, but also for the prevention of common health problems such as heart failure, hypertension, and stress related complications, among others. Wearables based on optical detection mechanisms are proving an invaluable approach for reporting on our bodies inner workings and have experienced a large penetration into the consumer market in recent years.

Current wearable technologies, based on non-flexible components, do not deliver the desired accuracy and can only monitor a limited number of vital signs. To tackle this problem, conformable non-invasive optical-based sensors that can measure a broader set of vital signs are at the top of the end-users’ wish list.

In a recent study published in Science Advances ("Flexible graphene photodetectors for wearable fitness monitoring"), ICFO researchers have demonstrated a new class of flexible and transparent wearable devices that are conformable to the skin and can provide continuous and accurate measurements of multiple human vital signs. These devices can measure heart rate, respiration rate and blood pulse oxygenation, as well as exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

While the device measures the different parameters, the read-out is visualized and stored on a mobile phone interface connected to the wearable via Bluetooth. In addition, the device can operate battery-free since it is charged wirelessly through the phone.

“It was very important for us to demonstrate the wide range of potential applications for our advanced light sensing technology through the creation of various prototypes, including the flexible and transparent bracelet, the health patch integrated on a mobile phone and the UV monitoring patch for sun exposure. They have shown to be versatile and efficient due to these unique features”, reports Dr. Emre Ozan Polat, first author of this publication.

The bracelet was fabricated in such a way that it adapts to the skin surface and provides continuous measurement during activity (see Figure 1). The bracelet incorporates a flexible light sensor that can optically record the change in volume of blood vessels, due to the cardiac cycle, and then extract different vital signs such as heart rate, respiration rate and blood pulse oxygenation.

Secondly, the researchers report on the integration of a graphene health patch onto a mobile phone screen, which instantly measures and displays vital signs in real time when a user places one finger on the screen (see Figure 2). A unique feature of this prototype is that the device uses ambient light to operate, promoting low-power-consumption in these integrated wearables and thus, allowing a continuous monitoring of health markers over long periods of time.

ICFO’s advanced light sensing technology has implemented two types of nanomaterials: graphene, a highly flexible and transparent material made of one-atom thick layer of carbon atoms, together with a light absorbing layer made of quantum dots. The demonstrated technology brings a new form factor and design freedom to the wearables’ field, making graphene-quantum-dots-based devices a strong platform for product developers.

 

Dr. Antonios Oikonomou, business developer at ICFO emphasized this by stating that “The booming wearables industry is eagerly looking to increase fidelity and functionality of its offerings. Our graphene-based technology platform answers this challenge with a unique proposition: a scalable, low-power system capable of measuring multiple parameters while allowing the translation of new form factors into products.”

Dr. Stijn Goossens, co-supervisor of the study, also comments that “we have made a breakthrough by showing a flexible, wearable sensing system based on graphene light sensing components. Key was to pick the best of the rigid and flexible worlds. We used the unique benefits of flexible components for vital sign sensing and combined that with the high performance and miniaturization of conventional rigid electronic components.”

Finally, the researchers have been able to demonstrate a broad wavelength detection range with the technology, extending the functionality of the prototypes beyond the visible range. By using the same core technology, they have fabricated a flexible UV patch prototype (see Figure 3) capable of wirelessly transferring both power and data, and operating battery-free to sense the environmental UV-index. continuous monitoring of health markers over long periods of time.

The patch operates with a low power consumption and has a highly efficient UV detection system that can be attached to clothing or skin, and used for monitoring radiation intake from the sun, alerting the wearer of any possible over-exposure.

“We are excited about the prospects for this technology, pointing to a scalable route for the integration of graphene-quantum-dots into fully flexible wearable circuits to enhance form, feel, durability, and performance”, remarks Prof. Frank Koppens, leader of the Quantum Nano-Optoelectronics group at ICFO. “Such results show that this flexible wearable platform is compatible with scalable fabrication processes, proving mass-production of low-cost devices is within reach in the near future.”

Tags:  Antonios Oikonomou  Emre Ozan Polat  Frank Koppens  Graphene  Healthcare  ICFO  nanomaterials  quantum dots  Sensors  Stijn Goossens 

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Graphene nanoribbons lay the groundwork for ultrapowerful computers

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Friday, September 13, 2019
Smaller, better semiconductors have consistently allowed computers to become faster and more energy-efficient than ever before.

But the 18-month cycle of exponential increases in computing power that has held since the mid 1960s now has leveled off. That’s because there are fundamental limits to integrated circuits made strictly from silicon—the material that forms the backbone of our modern computer infrastructure.

As they look to the future, however, engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are turning to new materials to lay down the foundations for more powerful computers.

They have devised a method to grow tiny ribbons of graphene—the single-atom-thick carbon compound—directly on top of silicon wafers.

Graphene ribbons have a special advantage over the material when it’s in its more common form of a broad, flat sheet; namely, thin strips of graphene become excellent semiconductors.

“Compared to current technology, this could enable faster, low power devices,” says Vivek Saraswat, a PhD student in materials science and engineering at UW-Madison. “It could help you pack in more transistors onto chips and continue Moore’s law into the future.”

Saraswat and his colleagues published details of their work July 9, 2019, in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

The advance could enable graphene-based integrated circuits, with much improved performance over today’s silicon chips.

“The main advantage of graphene nanoribbons is that electrons can travel faster through them, compared to silicon so you can make faster chips that use less energy,” says Mike Arnold, a professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison and a world expert in graphene growth.

Arnold is pioneer of a strategy to lay down long, thin strips of graphene—structures known as nanoribbons—on top a material called germanium.

That’s useful in many ways. However, since germanium isn’t a widely used semiconductor, it can’t form the basis for computer chips.

Meanwhile, other researchers have not been able to overcome a major barrier in layering graphene nanoribbons onto silicon. Graphene reacts with silicon to form an inert and less useful compound called silicon carbide.

Arnold’s group has developed an ingenious method to avoid that obstacle.

By laying down a thin protective layer of germanium before applying graphene, the researchers could successfully grow graphene nanoribbons on top of silicon wafers. The thin germanium layers protected graphene from reacting with silicon, yet didn’t interfere with the nanoribbons’ semiconducting capabilities.

It’s an important first step toward creating graphene-based integrated circuits. And because the base layer is composed of silicon, the graphene nanoribbon technology can be easily integrated into existing electronic/computing components.

“Our vision is to integrate graphene with existing devices,” says Arnold.

The scientists have patented their technology through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. One advantage of their synthesis approach is that it takes advantage of a scalable, industry-compatible chemical vapor deposition technique. Now, they’re working to improve the precision with which they lay down their nanoribbons so that they can achieve the complex patterns found in modern computer chips.

“We are using a few strategies to control the thickness and the orientation for the nanoribbons,” says Arnold. “We have a few really cool ideas.”

Tags:  Graphene  Graphene Nanoribbons  Mike Arnold  Semiconductors  University of Wisconsin-Madison  Vivek Saraswat 

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Graphene layer enables advance in super-resolution microscopy

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, September 12, 2019
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2019
Researchers at the University of Göttingen have developed a new method that takes advantage of the unusual properties of graphene to electromagnetically interact with fluorescing (light-emitting) molecules. This method allows scientists to optically measure extremely small distances, in the order of 1 ångström (one ten-billionth of a meter) with high accuracy and reproducibility for the first time. This enabled researchers to optically measure the thickness of lipid bilayers, the stuff that makes the membranes of all living cells. The results were published in Nature Photonics.

Researchers from the University of Göttingen led by Professor Enderlein used a single sheet of graphene, just one atom thick (0.34 nm), to modulate the emission of light-emitting (fluorescent) molecules when they came close to the graphene sheet. The excellent optical transparency of graphene and its capability to modulate through space the molecules' emission made it an extremely sensitive tool for measuring the distance of single molecules from the graphene sheet. 

The accuracy of this method is so good that even the slightest distance changes of around 1 ångström (this is about the diameter of an atom or half a millionth of a human hair) can be resolved. The scientists were able to show this by depositing single molecules above a graphene layer. They could then determine their distance by monitoring and evaluating their light emission. This graphene-induced modulation of molecular light emission provides an extremely sensitive and precise "ruler" for determining single molecule positions in space. They used this method to measure the thickness of single lipid bilayers which are constituted of two layers of fatty acid chain molecules and have a total thickness of only a few nanometers (1 billionth of a meter).

"Our method has enormous potential for super-resolution microscopy because it allows us to localise single molecules with nanometre resolution not only laterally (as with earlier methods) but also with similar accuracy along the third direction, which enables true three-dimensional optical imaging on the length scale of macromolecules," says Arindam Ghosh, the first author of the paper.

"This will be a powerful tool with numerous applications to resolve distances with sub-nanometer accuracy in individual molecules, molecular complexes, or small cellular organelles," adds Professor Jörg Enderlein, the publication's corresponding author and head of the Third Institute of Physics (Biophysics) where the work took place.

Tags:  Arindam Ghosh  Graphene  Jörg Enderlein  photonics  University of Göttingen 

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