Carbon Based Nanomaterials Group
Carbon Based Nanomaterials Group
Overview of Research : Over the last eight years, the research of the group is focused on the fabrication and functionalisation of low dimensional carbon based nanomaterials (graphene, carbon nanotubes, diamond nanorods), the characterization of their unique physical and physicochemical properties and the demonstration of these materials in energy and biological sensing areas. See research highlights:
Graphene for fuel cells and biosensors
A highlight of the graphene work has been the integration of vertical graphene nanoflakes (GNF) into a platform, using a one-step microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (MWPECVD) approach, for elucidating the electrocatalytic properties of graphene edges. This work has created a new class of graphene based electrodes for a wide range of applications in the electroanalytical, biosensing, energy storage/conversion sectors, that could essentially prevail over their vertically aligned carbon nanotubes counterparts. The application of GNFs as a promising support material for developing next-generation advanced Pt based fuel cells has also been established [1,2].
High-purity multilayer graphene nanoflake films are efficiently grown on Si by a simple method without use of catalysts. They are made of interlaced highly graphitized, abundant knife-edge nanoflakes with a ~2 nm thick edge and have a preferentially vertical orientation. They demonstrate well resolved simultaneous discrimination of dopamine, ascorbic acid and uric acid much better than glassy carbon electrode.
We have also pioneered the synthesis of Reduced Graphene Oxide / Platinum supported electrocatalysts (Pt/RGO) employing a fast and eco-friendly microwave assisted polyol process. This hybrid material Pt/RGO shows excellent electrocatalytic activity and CO-poisoning tolerance for the methanol oxidation reaction (MOR), outperforming the commercial Pt/C electrocatalysts. Our experimental observations have demonstrated that the presence of residual oxygen groups on RGO play a vital role on the removal of carbonaceous species from the adjacent Pt sites .
 S Sharma, A Ganguly et al, "Rapid Microwave Synthesis of CO Tolerant Reduced Graphene Oxide-Supported Platinum Electrocatalysts for Oxidation of Methanol" The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 114 (2010) 19459
Pt nanocrystals on reduced graphene oxide and comparison of their methanol oxidation performance withthat of commercial electrocatalysts. A small Ib peak indicates efficient removal of CO species.
Electronic structure investigation using synchrotron light
Research efforts are also directed on the introduction of atomic scale defects in carbon nanotubes and graphene through plasma and chemical approaches in order to alter the physical and chemical properties of the carbon nanostructures. We use synchrotron light in major European research facilities such as Diamond and CCLRC in UK, Max Lab in Sweden, Bessy in Germany and Elletra in Italy to probe the local atomic environment of carbon based. In a series of papers the details of the interaction of foreign molecules such as nitrogen, oxygen and chlorine with the graphene lattice have been investigated by synchrotron based spectroscopies (NEXAFS, PEEM, XPS, VB).
For further information please contact Group Leader: Prof Pagona Papakonstantinou
T: +44 (0)28 9036 8932
Ulster Business Festival: Connected Health 8th of May 2013
Dr Pilar Fernandez Guest Lecture
Dr Pilar Fernandez Guest Lecture: Solar Water Treatment Technologies At NIBEC, University of Ulster 4 pm on Wednesday 20 February 2013