Carbon Based Nanomaterials Group


Carbon Based Nanomaterials Group

Group Leader: Prof. Pagona Papakonstantinou
 

imageOverview 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:

http://www.nano.org.uk/news/oct2008/latest1647.htm

http://www.nano.org.uk/news/april2009/latest1853.htm

http://www.nano.org.uk/news/1135.htm 

http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=23992.php

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].

[1] N. Shang, et al "Catalyst-free efficent growth, orienation and biosensing properties of multilayer graphene nanoflake films with sharp edge planes", Advanced Functional Materials, 18, (2008) 3506

[2] N. Shang, et al "Palatinum integrated Graphene for Methanol Fuel Cells" The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 114 (2010) 15837

 

image

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 [3].

[3] 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.

image

 

 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).

image

[4] A. Ganguly, et al "Probing the Thermal Deoxygenation of Graphene Oxide using High resolution X ray spectroscopies" The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 115 (2001) 17009

For further information please contact Group Leader: Prof Pagona Papakonstantinou
E: p.papakonstantinou@ulster.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)28 9036 8932

Overview of Research 

The research is centred on the development of approaches for the controlled synthesis of new nanostructured carbon based materials such as carbon nanotubes, nanocoils, nanowalls, nanotips, on a Si substrate for integration with semiconductor technologies. The new nanostructures are fabricated using a state of the art microwave Plasma enhanced CVD reactor with Electron Cyclotron Resonance attachment. The unique physical and electrochemical properties of the nano-elements are studied with a view of improving performance of current devices.Particular interest is paid on probing the interactions between biological molecules and nano-elements in light of developing protocols that will provide a foundation for future bioelectronic devices.

Click here for further details
Key Projects

The group is very active on the synthesis of new nanostructures and their detailed physical and electrochemical characterisation. Currently the group is developing a new electrochemical platform based on an array of carbon nanotube transducers on a silicon chip, which will allow direct electronic detection of biomolecules with improved sensitivity and specificity. The group also wishes to understand, at molecular level, what micro-structural change occur at nanotube surfaces during biomolecular attachment, using some of the state of the art analysis equipment. In this manner a comprehensive understanding of the immobilisation and electrochemical processes can be obtained, which allows the effective engineering of carbon nanotubes. The group is also involved on the investigation of plasma and chemically modified surfaces using non-conventional techniques such as synchrotron based and neutron diffraction facilities.


Collaboration
The group have enjoyed collaborations with various academic partners in UK, Europe and worldwide. Currently collaborations are ongoing with Peking University, National Taiwan University, Ege University and University of Arizona. The group is also involved in a major European funded projected known as DESYGN-IT - 'Design, Synthesis and Growth of Nanotubes for Industrial Technology', which includes partners from UK, Ireland, Germany, Slovenia and Sweden.

Click here for further details


Industrial Partners
GlaxoSmithkline is supporting a PhD student of a project involving the development of CNT biosensors.

For further information please contact the Group Leader: Dr Pagona Papakonstantinou

E: p.papakonstantinou@ulster.ac.uk

T +44 (0) 28 9036 8932

Overview of Research 

The research is centred on the development of approaches for the controlled synthesis of new nanostructured carbon based materials such as carbon nanotubes, nanocoils, nanowalls, nanotips, on a Si substrate for integration with semiconductor technologies. The new nanostructures are fabricated using a state of the art microwave Plasma enhanced CVD reactor with Electron Cyclotron Resonance attachment. The unique physical and electrochemical properties of the nano-elements are studied with a view of improving performance of current devices.Particular interest is paid on probing the interactions between biological molecules and nano-elements in light of developing protocols that will provide a foundation for future bioelectronic devices.

Click here for further details
Key Projects

The group is very active on the synthesis of new nanostructures and their detailed physical and electrochemical characterisation. Currently the group is developing a new electrochemical platform based on an array of carbon nanotube transducers on a silicon chip, which will allow direct electronic detection of biomolecules with improved sensitivity and specificity. The group also wishes to understand, at molecular level, what micro-structural change occur at nanotube surfaces during biomolecular attachment, using some of the state of the art analysis equipment. In this manner a comprehensive understanding of the immobilisation and electrochemical processes can be obtained, which allows the effective engineering of carbon nanotubes. The group is also involved on the investigation of plasma and chemically modified surfaces using non-conventional techniques such as synchrotron based and neutron diffraction facilities.


Collaboration
The group have enjoyed collaborations with various academic partners in UK, Europe and worldwide. Currently collaborations are ongoing with Peking University, National Taiwan University, Ege University and University of Arizona. The group is also involved in a major European funded projected known as DESYGN-IT - 'Design, Synthesis and Growth of Nanotubes for Industrial Technology', which includes partners from UK, Ireland, Germany, Slovenia and Sweden.

Click here for further details


Industrial Partners
GlaxoSmithkline is supporting a PhD student of a project involving the development of CNT biosensors.

For further information please contact the Group Leader: Dr Pagona Papakonstantinou

E: p.papakonstantinou@ulster.ac.uk

T +44 (0) 28 9036 8932

 

Inaugural Professorial Lecture by Tony Byrne, Professor of Photocatalysis

Inaugural Professorial Lecture by Tony Byrne, Professor of Photocatalysis

When & where Wednesday, 22 October 2014 18:30 at the Jordanstown campus Lecture Theatre 9F03

NIBEC Lecture Series begins in mid - October

Director