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

Creating a super athlete as b...
ABC Illawarra | 31 March
Baird’s back in NSW: experts...
The Conversation | 28 March
Cuts to Future Fellowships will...
The Conversation | 27 March
Intellectually gifted students o...
The Conversation | 25 March
Preschool for all 3 year olds?
ABC Radio National | 25 March
Oldest Roman military fort: airb...
Sydney Morning Herald | 24 March
Explainer: what are personality...
The Conversation | 24 March
The Debate: should NSW's poles...
Sydney Morning Herald | 23 March
Meet the boss: eWAY's Matt B...
Sydney Morning Herald | 21 March
Malcolm Fraser’s life and legacy...
The Conversation | 20 March
Why first-in-family uni students...
The Conversation | 20 March
Anti-Zionism in the courts is ...
The Conversation | 19 March
I’ve done Iran, Japan, Lebanon...
The Australian | 19 March
Porn in classrooms?
The Age | 18 March
From bionic bras to 3D-printed...
ABC Radio National | 17 March
Right formula to accelerate...
AFR | 17 March
Canada and Australia share a...

The Conversation | 17 March
Will it be the end of the line for...
The Conversation | 17 March 
The life in your spice: the health...
Sydney Morning Herald | 16 March
Rapping scientist lays the diss...
CNET | 15 March
Rapping trainee doctor raises...

The Mirror | 14 March
More media coverage