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Concept: Graphene


The extraordinary properties of graphene and carbon nanotubes motivate the development of methods for their use in producing continuous, strong, tough fibres. Previous work has shown that the toughness of the carbon nanotube-reinforced polymer fibres exceeds that of previously known materials. Here we show that further increased toughness results from combining carbon nanotubes and reduced graphene oxide flakes in solution-spun polymer fibres. The gravimetric toughness approaches 1,000 J g(-1), far exceeding spider dragline silk (165 J g(-1)) and Kevlar (78 J g(-1)). This toughness enhancement is consistent with the observed formation of an interconnected network of partially aligned reduced graphene oxide flakes and carbon nanotubes during solution spinning, which act to deflect cracks and allow energy-consuming polymer deformation. Toughness is sensitive to the volume ratio of the reduced graphene oxide flakes to the carbon nanotubes in the spinning solution and the degree of graphene oxidation. The hybrid fibres were sewable and weavable, and could be shaped into high-modulus helical springs.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Redox, Nitrogen, Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Graphene, Tensile strength, Spider silk


We report hot filament thermal CVD (HFTCVD) as a new hybrid of hot filament and thermal CVD and demonstrate its feasibility by producing high quality large area strictly monolayer graphene films on Cu substrates. Gradient in gas composition and flow rate that arises due to smart placement of the substrate inside the Ta filament wound alumina tube accompanied by radical formation on Ta due to precracking coupled with substrate mediated physicochemical processes like diffusion, polymerization etc., led to graphene growth. We further confirmed our mechanistic hypothesis by depositing graphene on Ni and SiO(2)/Si substrates. HFTCVD can be further extended to dope graphene with various heteroatoms (H, N, and B, etc.,), combine with functional materials (diamond, carbon nanotubes etc.,) and can be extended to all other materials (Si, SiO(2), SiC etc.,) and processes (initiator polymerization, TFT processing) possible by HFCVD and thermal CVD.

Concepts: Carbon, Aluminium, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Graphene, Materials science, Chemical vapor deposition, Silicon carbide


Processing and manipulation of highly conductive pristine graphene in large quantities are still major challenges in the practical application of graphene for electric device. In the present study, we report the liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite in toluene using well-defined poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) to produce a P3HT/graphene composite. We synthesize and use regioregular P3HT with controlled molecular weights as conductive dispersants for graphene. Simple ultrasonication of graphite flakes with the P3HT successfully produces single-layer and few-layer graphene sheets dispersed in toluene. The produced P3HT/graphene composite can be used as conductive graphene ink, indicating that the P3HT/graphene composite has high electrical conductivity owing to the high conductivity of P3HT and graphene. The P3HT/graphene composite also works as an oxidation-resistant and conductive film for a copper substrate, which is due to the high gas-barrier property of graphene.

Concepts: Electricity, Electrical conductor, Aluminium, Copper, Graphite, Graphene, Electrical conductivity, Fullerene


The new three-dimensional structure that the graphene connected with SWCNTs (G-CNTs, Graphene Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes) can solve graphene and CNTs' problems. A comprehensive study of the mechanical and electrical performance of the junctions was performed by first-principles theory. There were eight types of junctions that were constituted by armchair and zigzag graphene and (3,3), (4,0), (4,4), and (6,0) CNTs. First, the junction strength was investigated. Generally, the binding energy of armchair G-CNTs was stronger than that of zigzag G-CNTs, and it was the biggest in the armchair G-CNTs (6,0). Likewise, the electrical performance of armchair G-CNTs was better than that of zigzag G-CNTs. Charge density distribution of G-CNTs (6,0) was the most homogeneous. Next, the impact factors of the electronic properties of armchair G-CNTs were investigated. We suggest that the band gap is increased with the length of CNTs, and its value should be dependent on the combined effect of both the graphene’s width and the CNTs' length. Last, the relationship between voltage and current (U/I) were studied. The U/I curve of armchair G-CNTs (6,0) possessed a good linearity and symmetry. These discoveries will contribute to the design and production of G-CNT-based devices.

Concepts: Electric charge, Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Allotropes of carbon, Graphite, Graphene, Tensile strength, Charge density


In modern neuroscience, significant progress in developing structural scaffolds integrated with the brain is provided by the increasing use of nanomaterials. We show that a multiwalled carbon nanotube self-standing framework, consisting of a three-dimensional (3D) mesh of interconnected, conductive, pure carbon nanotubes, can guide the formation of neural webs in vitro where the spontaneous regrowth of neurite bundles is molded into a dense random net. This morphology of the fiber regrowth shaped by the 3D structure supports the successful reconnection of segregated spinal cord segments. We further observed in vivo the adaptability of these 3D devices in a healthy physiological environment. Our study shows that 3D artificial scaffolds may drive local rewiring in vitro and hold great potential for the development of future in vivo interfaces.

Concepts: In vivo, Carbon, Nanotechnology, In vitro, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Graphene, Tensile strength


Although clean and abundant water is the keystone of thriving communities, increasing demand and volatile climate patterns are depleting rivers and aquifers. Moreover, the quality of such water sources is threatened by noxious contaminants, of which heavy metals represents an area of growing concern. Recently, graphene oxide (GO) has been suggested as an adsorbent; however, a support is desirable to ensure a high surface area and an immobile phase. Herein, we described the preparation and characterization of a supported-epoxidized carbon nanotube (SENT) via the growth of multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) onto a quartz substrate. Subsequent epoxidation provides sufficient functionality to enable adsorbent of heavy metals (Cd(2+), Co(2+), Cu(2+), Hg(2+), Ni(2+), and Pb(2+)) from aqueous solution with initial concentrations (60-6000 ppm) chosen to simulate high industrial wastewater contamination. The SENT adsorption efficiency is >99.4% for all metals and the saturation concentration is significantly greater than observed for either GO or acid treated MWNTs. The SENT adsorbent may be readily regenerated under mild conditions using a globally available household chemical, vinegar. 1 g of SENT has the potential to treat 83,000 L of contaminated water down to WHO limits which would be sufficient for 11,000 people.

Concepts: Oxygen, Concentration, Chemistry, Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Graphene, Heavy metal music, Tungsten


Engineered nanomaterials promise to transform medicine at the bio-nano interface. However, it is important to elucidate how synthetic nanomaterials interact with critical biological systems before such products can be safely utilized in humans. Past evidence suggests that polyethylene glycol-functionalized (PEGylated) nanomaterials are largely biocompatible and elicit less dramatic immune responses than their pristine counterparts. We here report results that contradict these findings. We find that PEGylated graphene oxide nanosheets (nGO-PEGs) stimulate potent cytokine responses in peritoneal macrophages, despite not being internalized. Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations support a mechanism by which nGO-PEGs preferentially adsorb onto and/or partially insert into cell membranes, thereby amplifying interactions with stimulatory surface receptors. Further experiments demonstrate that nGO-PEG indeed provokes cytokine secretion by enhancing integrin β8-related signalling pathways. The present results inform that surface passivation does not always prevent immunological reactions to 2D nanomaterials but also suggest applications for PEGylated nanomaterials wherein immune stimulation is desired.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Medicine, Cell, Signal transduction, Cell membrane, Immunology, Graphene


Silkworm silk is gaining significant attention from both the textile industry and research society because of its outstanding mechanical properties and lustrous appearance. The possibility of creating tougher silks attracts particular research interest. Carbon nanotubes and graphene are widely studied for their use as reinforcement. In this work, we report mechanically enhanced silk directly collected by feeding Bombyx mori larval silkworms with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and graphene. We found that parts of the fed carbon nanomaterials were incorporated into the as-spun silk fibers, whereas the others went into the excrement of silkworms. Spectroscopy study indicated that nanocarbon additions hindered the conformation transition of silk fibroin from random coil/α-helix to β-sheet, which may contribute to increased breaking elongation and toughness modules. We further investigated the pyrolysis of modified silk, and a highly developed graphitic structure with obviously enhanced electrical conductivity was obtained through the introduction SWNTs and graphene. The successful generation of these SWNT- or graphene- embedded silks by in vivo feeding is expected to open up possibilities for the large-scale production of high strength silk fibers.

Concepts: Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Graphene, Silk, Bombyx mori, Bombycidae, Bombyx


Graphene nanoribbons (GNR), can be prepared in bulk quantities for large-area applications by reducing the product from the lengthwise oxidative unzipping of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT). Recently, the biomaterials application of GNR has been explored, for example, in the pore to be used for DNA sequencing. Therefore, understanding the polymer behavior of GNR in solution is essential in predicting GNR interaction with biomaterials. Here, we report experimental studies of the solution-based mechanical properties of GNR and their parent products, graphene oxide nanoribbons (GONR). We used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study their mechanical properties in solution and showed that GNR and GONR have similar force-extension behavior as in biopolymers such as proteins and DNA. The rigidity increases with reducing chemical functionalities. The similarities in rigidity and tunability between nanoribbons and biomolecules might enable the design and fabrication of GNR-biomimetic interfaces.

Concepts: Molecular biology, Chemistry, Polymer, Nitrogen, Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Graphene, Biopolymer


Understanding how nanomaterials interact with cell membranes is related to how they cause cytotoxicity and is therefore critical for designing safer biomedical applications. Recently, graphene (a two-dimensional nanomaterial) was shown to have antibacterial activity on Escherichia coli, but its underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Here we show experimentally and theoretically that pristine graphene and graphene oxide nanosheets can induce the degradation of the inner and outer cell membranes of Escherichia coli, and reduce their viability. Transmission electron microscopy shows three rough stages, and molecular dynamics simulations reveal the atomic details of the process. Graphene nanosheets can penetrate into and extract large amounts of phospholipids from the cell membranes because of the strong dispersion interactions between graphene and lipid molecules. This destructive extraction offers a novel mechanism for the molecular basis of graphene’s cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity.

Concepts: Protein, Electron, Bacteria, Cell membrane, Atom, Nanomaterials, Graphene, Lipid bilayer