Professor’s research on nanoscale membrane membranes reveals new potential for energy harvesting
Scientists at the University of Melbourne have discovered a new class of nanoparticles that can be used as a “professor’s” membrane.
Professor Ian C. MacLeod of the Australian National University (ANU) and his team developed a membrane-making process using nanoscales of graphene, a material made of carbon atoms, with an atomic structure that makes it an ideal candidate for nanoscaling.
Their discovery has the potential to revolutionise energy harvesting applications in the medical and scientific fields, and could open up the possibility of using the nanostructures as a means to capture energy from the flow of blood.
The discovery was made by researchers from the University’s School of Materials Sciences and the Department of Physics, Engineering and Mathematics at ANU.
“The ability to make graphene nanoparticles, which have the ability to self-assemble into larger structures, opens up many possibilities,” Professor MacLeod said.
“Graphene is one of the few materials that are both conductive and stable at room temperature.”
The research was published in the journal Nano Letters.
The team created a material called trichomatophene (t-trich) using the technique of superconducting, a process that allows a material to conduct electricity while it’s still attached to a surface.
“This means that, unlike other materials, we can make graphene nanostructure that has a superconductor inside,” Professor C.
MacLeod said in a statement.
“We can actually make graphene that’s conductive to an extreme degree, but not conductive enough to be able to hold onto electrons.”
This creates a structure called a “graphene-t-Trich” that can then be used to make “professors” of nanostronged membranes.
Professor MacLeod’s research team used a single layer of graphene to create two layers of trichome-like materials that can self-assembles to form a “nano-trough” of three graphene layers.
The researchers then created a second layer of trachome-style materials that could self-attach to the first.
They then used a third layer of “professed” graphene to form an “inverse graphene” structure that would attach to the third layer.
This new membrane material can then self-detach and be reused for more “profess” graphene materials, he said.
MacLodle said the researchers believe that this new material could help with energy harvesting by creating a barrier between the graphene nanofibers and the electrode.
“It’s a little bit like the way we used graphene to make the first graphene,” he said, referring to the research paper describing the technique.
“What’s amazing about this is that the graphene-tachomatops are actually able to self detach and form a barrier, so you can use them as a sort of self-healing membrane.”
Professor MacLodles research team is also working on the development of a nanostratum membrane that could be used in the development and application of energy harvesting technologies.
“There are a lot of materials that have a lot in common with graphene, but they’re all very difficult to make, and we have a really good understanding of how these materials work and can be manipulated to make them more suitable for energy-harvesting applications,” Professor McLeod said of the work.
“These are all the kinds of materials you can put in your pocket to harvest energy from blood flow.”
The University of Adelaide, with assistance from the Department for Business, Innovation and Employment, will host a conference on “gut-friendly nanostrobes” from February 20 to 26.
Topics:science-and-technology,energy,biotechnology,biomedicine,sustainable-business,materials-and_technologies,environment,research,health,australiaFirst posted March 01, 2020 09:06:24Contact Ian C MacLeod