Media Releases
Published: 25 January, 2008

Discovery promises major advances in energy conversion and storage

Embargoed by Nature magazine until 5am Monday 28 January (AEST)

University of Wollongong scientists have made an exciting discovery that enables processing and fabrication of an abundant form of carbon with extraordinary properties.

Results of the discovery are being released in the prestigious international journal, Nature (Nanotechnology), on Monday January 28 (AEST).

Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), Professor Gordon Wallace, said results already indicated that the discovery would lead to advances in energy conversion (new transparent electrodes for solar cells) , energy storage (new electrodes for batteries -- especially flexible batteries) and as new electrodes in medical bionics.

The discovery was led by QE2 Fellow in ACES/Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, Dr Dan Li. Other collaborators included recent Fulbright Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Professor Ric Kanar, who hails from UCLA in the United States, and University of Wollongong PhD student, Benjamin Mueller.

The Nature (Nanotechnology) paper is titled, ‘Processable aqueous dispersions of graphene nanosheets’. Graphene — a carbon-based nanomaterial known for its unique electronic, thermal and mechanical properties — can form stable dispersions in water without the need for additional chemical stabilisers. The researchers’ findings will have practical implications for the development of coatings to reduce static build-up on materials.

Graphene is the name given to the individual sheets of carbon, just one atom thick, that stack together to form graphite. Keeping graphene sheets separate from one another is a difficult task because they tend to stick together, forming larger structures that are not particularly useful. However, now the UOW team, using a sequence of chemical reactions, has shown how aqueous dispersions of well-separated graphene sheets can be made from graphite — an abundant and inexpensive starting material.

Rather than relying on either polymer or surfactant stabilisers, their approach maximises the electrostatic charge on the graphene sheets, ensuring that they repel one another instead of clumping together.

Professor Wallace said that this low-cost approach offers the potential for large-scale production of stable graphene colloids that can be processed using well-established solution-based techniques — such as filtration or spraying — to make conductive films.

“In addition to antistatic coatings, these materials are expected to have applications in flexible transparent electronics, high-performance composites and nanomedicine,” he said.

Media please note: Professor Gordon Wallace and other members of the team can be interviewed by contacting Professor Wallace on (02) 4221 3127 or 0448 729436 (m) or Dr Dan Li on (02) 4221 3319. Photo/filming opportunities can be undertaken at the University on the Australia Day public holiday on Monday 28 January.

Published: 25 January, 2008

Contact us

+61 2 4221 4227 | media@uow.edu.au 

Share

UOW IN THE NEWS

Studies consistently find no ac...
The Conversation | 24 April 
Australian researchers are using...
Science Alert | 23 April
'None of it's true': What's behind...

Mashable | 22 April
4D printing is cooler than 3D pri...
Sydney Morning Herald | 22 April
Wollongong trial probes new ...
The Australian | 21 April
CEDA report released today...
ABC Radio National | 21 April
Meet the Guy Trying to Revoluti...
Vice | 20 April
Once aimless, teens now have a...
The Australian | 18 April
Tassie leads rare look at sub-A...
The Mercury (Tasmania) | 18 April
Pregnant women need good nut...
Essential Baby | 17 April
Marc de Rosnay: Emotional self...
ABC Sydney | 16 April
George Brown and war trauma
ABC radio | 16 April
Commit No Nuisance meets Gr...
T
he Age | 16 April
East West Link: Contractors call...
Australian Financial Review | 15 April
Self-lubricating condom of the ...
Mirror.co.uk | 14 April
Soon, condoms to feel like the...

Times of India | 14 April
Could This Self-Lubricating Co...

Huffington Post | 13 April
A condom that could feel better...
Men's Fitness | 13 April
Australia's first body farm: Mo...
Sydney Morning Herald | 12 April
More media coverage