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Tuneable graphene surfaces for water purification and energy storage

The sustainability issues of efficient energy storage and water purification are of vital importance to the long-term future of the planet. Researchers from Zhejiang University have developed a new nanostructured graphene material with a tuneable surface texture which can be used to for enhanced water purification and energy storage applications.

Inspired by the hierarchical structures and microscopic surface textures of the dry-climate plant Callitris endlicheri, the graphene structures use capillary effects to transport and store water in a similar way, but at much smaller length scales. Typically, tuneable surfaces such as these, require chemical surface modifications; but this Nanoscale Horizons article outlines a new method involving plasma-assisted growth of graphene ‘nano-flaps’ covalently bonded to micro-sized vertical grapheme graphene wells (termed ‘Sub-μGW’). The surfaces showed better water purification of metal nanoparticles from water and remarkable electrochemical performance in supercapacitors (2.5x higher specific capacitance of Sub-μGW electrodes). These excellent properties are attributed to enhanced solid-liquid interfacing leading to a super hydrophilic surface by reduction of air bubbles, and better device performance.

In the future, this biomimetic approach could be used to control the wettability of a range of porous microstructured surfaces, and could lead to further breakthroughs in important areas such as energy storage and conversion, water purification, and biomedical devices.

 

Fig. 1. SEM images of grapheme nanostructures showing the decreasing nanotexture densities from (d) to (f). (g) Schematic of the capillarity driven modification process for the adjustment of the nanotexture density in Sub-mGWs.

 

Read the article:
Tuneable fluidics within graphene nanogaps for water purification and energy storage
Zheng Bo, Yilei Tian, Zhao Jun Han, Shenghao Wu, Shuo Zhang, Jianhua Yan, Kefa Cena and Kostya Ostrikov
Nanoscale Horizons, 2017, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C6NH00167J

 

Alexander Cook is a guest web writer for the RSC journal blogs. He is a PhD researcher in the Perrier group at the University of Warwick, focusing on polymer materials and their use in various applications. Follow him on twitter @alexcook222

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HOT article: Making metal surfaces strong, resistant, and multifunctional by nanoscale-sculpturing

Fig. 1 Schematic images of sculptured metal surfaces.

Surface properties are critically important for metal applications, especially when using alloys or composite. A key factor in these properties is the layers of metal oxide that develop on metal surfaces – how these layers form and dissolve has a huge impact on the surface stability. Conventional methods for creating metal surfaces often result in uneven oxide layers, weakening the properties.

Nanosculpturing, on the other hand, allows oxide deposition and dissolution to be controlled so that they can be evenly spread. This gives the surfaces the same properties across their whole area, making them very stable. Adelung’s group used a careful balancing act between direct and indirect dissolution, which gave them the benefits of both.

The nanoscale sculptured surfaces were also remarkably corrosion-resistant, and could be made hydrophobic or hydrophilic by alternately dehydrating or hydrating the oxide layer. With its property-boosting effects and wide scope, nanoscale sculpturing could soon be used for an array of metal applications.

Read the full article here:
Making metal surfaces strong, resistant, and multifunctional by nanoscale-sculpturing
M. Baytekin-Gerngross, M. D. Gerngross, J. Carstensen and R. Adelung
Nanoscale Horiz., 2016, Advance Article

Susannah May is a guest web writer for the RSC Journal blogs. She currently works in the Publishing Department of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has a keen interest in biology and biomedicine, and the frontiers of their intersection with chemistry. She can be found on Twitter using @SusannahCIMay.

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Graphene Canada 2016

Nanoscale Horizons is thrilled to announce its support of Graphene Canada 2016. We will be providing a prize for the best poster consisting of a certificate and an online subscription to one of Materials Horizons, Nanoscale, Journals of Materials Chemistry A, B or C, worth in excess of £1500.

Montreal (Canada) will host the 2nd edition of the Graphene & 2D Materials International Conference and Exhibition: October 18-20, 2016

The Graphene Conference will be a 3 days event that means to gather the key players of the Graphene Community and related sectors. This event is launched following the lack of meetings in the field in Canada and aims to become an established event, attracting global participants, intent on sharing, exchanging and exploring new avenues of graphene-related scientific and commercial developments

The Industrial Forum will present the most recent advances in technology developments and business opportunities in graphene commercialization. Key representatives of “graphene companies” will share their market vision and business opportunities, while selected talks from industrial exhibitors will present commercial showcases in all current market fields of graphene products.

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Poster prize winners at the 10th Sino-US Symposium on Nanoscale Science and Technology

Many congratulations to Chuanbo Gao and Mengyu Yan for winning the Nanoscale and Nanoscale Horizons poster prizes at the 10th Sino-US Symposium on Nanoscale Science and Technology.

Chuanbo, from the Xi’An Jiaotong University, and Mengyu, from Wuhan University, won prizes for their posters entitled “Etching-free epitaxial growth of gold on silver nanostructures for high chemical stability and plasmonic activity” and “Vanadium oxide/graphene nanocomposite for advanced lithium battery”, respectively.

The 10th Sino-US Symposium on Nanoscale Science and Technology took place from 26th to 28th June 2015 at Wuhan University of Technology, China. The conference is organised by the Wuhan University of Technology, University of California, Los Angeles, and Wuhan University, and aims to provide a platform for scholars, experts, research institutes, and companies to share the latest research progress in nanoscience and technology research. This year’s event was the largest symposium ever held in the history of the Forum, with over 1,000 participants. Further details are available on the conference website.

Nanoscale and Nanoscale Horizons will be awarding more prizes throughout the year – keep an eye out to find out about the winners!

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