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    News — graphene oxide research

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    Graphene Oxide as a Support for Polyoxometalates

    Graphene Oxide as a Support for Polyoxometalates

    Polyoxometalates, or POMs, is the name given to polynuclear materials which contain transition metals and oxygen. They have been researched for a diverse range of applications, including photochemistry and energy storage. The most popular research area to date for POMs has been catalysis, where their redox properties and strong Brønsted acidity are utilised. The biggest problems with POMs include difficulty of separation and the poor availability of active sites. Support materials for POMs have therefore been of great interest within the scientific community as they may offer a simultaneous solution to both problems.

    Many support materials have been researched for this purpose, with silica and polymers common choices. Graphene oxide is also of interest in this research area due to its high surface area and its ease of dispersion in a number of solvents. Accordingly, a recent paper published in Materials Chemistry and Physics focused on supporting polyoxometalates on graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide for catalyst applications. The researchers discovered that there were three important parameters to control the adsorption; the presence of oxygen functional groups, the pH and the solvent were all key to achieving the highest possible adsorption capacity.

    The research compared the ability of graphene oxide and two reduced graphene oxides, which had different oxygen contents. The highest adsorption capacity achieved by the research was 427 mg/g, which was achieved by graphene oxide. This indicates that a higher oxygen content is preferable when aiming for high adsorption capacities.
    This paper is another example of the breadth of research which graphene oxide is currently being used in. If you have any questions about how your research could benefit from graphene oxide, please get in touch.

    Mater. Chem. Phys., 2017, 299, 424

    Will The Faraday Challenge Result in New Graphene Based Products?

    Will The Faraday Challenge Result in New Graphene Based Products?

    The UK Government recently announced that new funding will be available for research around clean and flexible energy. Termed the ‘Faraday Challenge’, the funding has been described as “an investment of £246 million over 4 years to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy, to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles”. While research included within this brief will be diverse, looking at all aspects of a battery and manufacturing processes, the question of whether graphene and related materials will find a home in this competition has come up many times already.

    Research around graphene and graphene oxide in battery applications is wide ranging, with the materials most frequently considered for use in the electrodes, often as composites. The two-dimensional nature of these materials can be exploited to achieve high surface area materials, often enhancing the performance of existing materials. The possibilities are not limited to the electrodes though, graphene oxide has a broad range of properties which could be exploited in future generations of batteries. One potential example would be the continued use of these materials in composites, used to increase the mechanical strength of polymers. Improvements in this area could be employed in new housing for batteries, to increase the safety of the driver if the battery pack was impacted during a traffic accident.

    The possibilities for graphene oxide in future generations of batteries is diverse, with opportunities presented in many aspects of the global transition into mainstream hybrid and electric vehicles. William Blythe has participated in Innovate UK funding previously and had an active interest in projects related to energy storage – with and without the inclusion of graphene oxide. If you have a project you would like to work on with William Blythe, please get in touch.

    Can graphene oxide help manage asthma?

    Can graphene oxide help manage asthma?

    Defined as an airway inflammation, asthma affects around 300 million people around the world. Current non-invasive methods for monitoring asthma are not only expensive, but are also limited by low sensitivity. One avenue of research around asthma monitoring is the use of biomarkers in exhaled breath condensate (EBC). The droplets of fluid which are exhaled during normal breathing include non-volatile compounds such as nitrate, nitrite and hydrogen peroxide as well as larger molecules such as proteins. There have been several research studies examining the use of EBC nitrite as a biomarker for measuring both inflammation and oxidative distress in the respiratory tract with promising results achieved.

    A recent paper published in Microsystems & Nanoengineering looked at using reduced graphene oxide for electrochemical sensing of nitrite content in exhaled breath condensate. The sensors were made by adding a 3 µL aliquot of graphene oxide dispersion to a gold electrode before drying the surface at room temperature. A glass slide was used to ensure a thin, even GO layer across the surface was achieved. The graphene oxide was then reduced electrochemically. Through multiple experiments, the researchers were able to demonstrate high precision in quantifying nitrite in the samples tested in the clinically relevant µM range. The team validated the performance of their sensors on clinical EBC samples by comparing to results previously achieved by chemiluminescence.

    If you are interested in using graphene oxide in your research, please get in touch. A member of the GOgraphene team will be happy to help answer your questions about which graphene oxide product might perform best and how we can support your research programme moving forward.

    Microsystems & Nanoengineering, 2017, 3, 17022

    William Blythe and the Graphene Oxide Application Experts

    William Blythe and the Graphene Oxide Application Experts

    After a 12 month development programme, William Blythe launched their GOgraphene webshop to supply research scale quantities of graphene oxide to the market. Just over 6 months later, William Blythe is now seeking to not only increase their graphene oxide capacity, but also to start working with leaders in the field on developing application enhanced grades of graphene oxide.

    Over the past few weeks, William Blythe have attended several graphene oxide and 2D material related events throughout Europe, listening to the requirements of the exciting technologies graphene oxide is being applied in. A recent event at the National Graphene Institute (NGI) in Manchester, UK, gave the opportunity for one of William Blythe’s Development Chemists to present on our graphene oxide. Looking at how the project was conceived through to commercialisation and next steps, the presentation allowed the attending researchers, both academic and industrial, to learn more about how William Blythe can help to develop and commercialise the materials they need.

    Our team will continue to attend events to learn more about industry requirements, with the next one scheduled for the 21st June, also at the NGI. If you are holding an event and would like William Blythe to participate, please send us the details.

    Graphene Oxide in Aerogels for Air Purification

    Graphene Oxide in Aerogels for Air Purification

    Air pollution is an increasing issue for people around the globe, especially those living in large cities. While the drive to swap to cleaner, greener technologies and alternatives grows, there is still a need to offer air purification in many technology areas. The issues of air purity affect not only the outdoor environment, but also indoors. The building, its decoration and the local levels of Radon gas can all impact the air quality inside buildings.

    A 2015 paper by Xiong et al worked on combining absorption with photocatalysis. The concept was to increase the concentration of pollutants around a photocatalyst by absorbing them onto an adjacent surface. The photocatalytic oxidation process would then regenerate the absorbent, preventing the surface from becoming saturated and a “one use only” technology.

    Their research focussed on the development of a graphene aerogel combined with titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is well known for its photocatalytic activity while graphene aerogels are of great interest due to their exceptionally high surface area. The group added the titanium oxide to a graphene oxide dispersion and then went on to functionalise the graphene oxide by reacting it with ethylenediamine before converting it into an aerogel. The group found that the shape of the aerogel was easily directed by the shape of the vessel it was formed in, offering great flexibility for creating air purification cartridges. At the time of publication, while the group had confirmed that the desired material could be made, further work was still needed to understand the purification capability of the TiO2/graphene aerogel.

    If you would be interested in using graphene oxide in your research, please get in touch.

    Procedia Engineering, 2015, 121, 957 – 960