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1.  Stretchable and Flexible High-Strain Sensors Made Using Carbon Nanotubes and Graphite Films on Natural Rubber 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(1):868-876.
Conventional metallic strain sensors are flexible, but they can sustain maximum strains of only ∼5%, so there is a need for sensors that can bear high strains for multifunctional applications. In this study, we report stretchable and flexible high-strain sensors that consist of entangled and randomly distributed multiwall carbon nanotubes or graphite flakes on a natural rubber substrate. Carbon nanotubes/graphite flakes were sandwiched in natural rubber to produce these high-strain sensors. Using field emission scanning electron microscopy, the morphology of the films for both the carbon nanotube and graphite sensors were assessed under different strain conditions (0% and 400% strain). As the strain was increased, the films fractured, resulting in an increase in the electrical resistance of the sensor; this change was reversible. Strains of up to 246% (graphite sensor) and 620% (carbon nanotube sensor) were measured; these values are respectively ∼50 and ∼120 times greater than those of conventional metallic strain sensors.
PMCID: PMC3926590  PMID: 24399158
piezoresistive sensor; soft wearable sensors; electro-mechanical properties; film composite; stretchable device; carbon nanotubes; health monitoring
2.  A Versatile High-Permittivity Phantom for EIT 
Phantoms are frequently used in medical imaging systems to test hardware, reconstruction algorithms, and the interpretation of data. This report describes and characterizes the use of powdered graphite as a means of adding a significant reactive component or permittivity to useful phantom media for electrical impedance imaging. The phantom materials produced have usable complex admittivity at the electrical impedance tomography (EIT) frequencies from a few kilohertz to 1 MHz, as measured by our EIT system (ACT4) and by a commercial bioimpedance analyzer (BIS 4000, Xitron). We have also studied a commercial ultrasound coupling gel, which is highly electrically conductive and semisolid but that permits objects to move within it. The mixture of agar–graphite and gel–graphite, increases in permittivity and conductivity are proportional to the graphite concentration. We also report the use of a porous polymer membrane to simulate skin. A thin layer of this membrane increased resistance and the characteristic frequency of the phantoms, providing a promising candidate to simulate the effect of skin and the layered structure of a breast or other anatomical structure. The graphite also provides a realistic level of “speckle” in ultrasound images of the phantom, which may be useful in developing dual-mode imaging systems with ultrasound and the EIT.
PMCID: PMC2769077  PMID: 18990630
Electrical impedance tomography (EIT); graphite powder; high-permittivity phantom; porous polymer
3.  Comparative inhalation toxicity of multi-wall carbon nanotubes, graphene, graphite nanoplatelets and low surface carbon black 
Carbon nanotubes, graphene, graphite nanoplatelets and carbon black are seemingly chemically identical carbon-based nano-materials with broad technological applications. Carbon nanotubes and carbon black possess different inhalation toxicities, whereas little is known about graphene and graphite nanoplatelets.
In order to compare the inhalation toxicity of the mentioned carbon-based nanomaterials, male Wistar rats were exposed head-nose to atmospheres of the respective materials for 6 hours per day on 5 consecutive days. Target concentrations were 0.1, 0.5, or 2.5 mg/m3 for multi-wall carbon nanotubes and 0.5, 2.5, or 10 mg/m3 for graphene, graphite nanoplatelets and low-surface carbon black. Toxicity was determined after end of exposure and after three-week recovery using broncho-alveolar lavage fluid and microscopic examinations of the entire respiratory tract.
No adverse effects were observed after inhalation exposure to 10 mg/m3 graphite nanoplatelets or relatively low specific surface area carbon black. Increases of lavage markers indicative for inflammatory processes started at exposure concentration of 0.5 mg/m3 for multi-wall carbon nanotubes and 10 mg/m3 for graphene. Consistent with the changes in lavage fluid, microgranulomas were observed at 2.5 mg/m3 multi-wall carbon nanotubes and 10 mg/m3 graphene. In order to evaluate volumetric loading of the lung as the key parameter driving the toxicity, deposited particle volume was calculated, taking into account different methods to determine the agglomerate density. However, the calculated volumetric load did not correlate to the toxicity, nor did the particle surface burden of the lung.
The inhalation toxicity of the investigated carbon-based materials is likely to be a complex interaction of several parameters. Until the properties which govern the toxicity are identified, testing by short-term inhalation is the best option to identify hazardous properties in order to avoid unsafe applications or select safer alternatives for a given application.
PMCID: PMC3720229  PMID: 23773277
Inhalation toxicity; Graphene; Multi-wall carbon nanotubes; Graphite nanoplatelets; Carbon black
4.  Real-time monitoring of subsurface microbial metabolism with graphite electrodes 
Monitoring in situ microbial activity in anoxic submerged soils and aquatic sediments can be labor intensive and technically difficult, especially in dynamic environments in which a record of changes in microbial activity over time is desired. Microbial fuel cell concepts have previously been adapted to detect changes in the availability of relatively high concentrations of organic compounds in waste water but, in most soils and sediments, rates of microbial activity are not linked to the concentrations of labile substrates, but rather to the turnover rates of the substrate pools with steady state concentrations in the nM–μM range. In order to determine whether levels of current produced at a graphite anode would correspond to the rates of microbial metabolism in anoxic sediments, small graphite anodes were inserted in sediment cores and connected to graphite brush cathodes in the overlying water. Currents produced were compared with the rates of [2-14C]-acetate metabolism. There was a direct correlation between current production and the rate that [2-14C]-acetate was metabolized to 14CO2 and 14CH4 in sediments in which Fe(III) reduction, sulfate reduction, or methane production was the predominant terminal electron-accepting process. At comparable acetate turnover rates, currents were higher in the sediments in which sulfate-reduction or Fe(III) reduction predominated than in methanogenic sediments. This was attributed to reduced products (Fe(II), sulfide) produced at distance from the anode contributing to current production in addition to the current that was produced from microbial oxidation of organic substrates with electron transfer to the anode surface in all three sediment types. The results demonstrate that inexpensive graphite electrodes may provide a simple strategy for real-time monitoring of microbial activity in a diversity of anoxic soils and sediments.
PMCID: PMC4240160  PMID: 25484879
subsurface sediments; microbial activity; anaerobic metabolism; electromicrobiology; aquatic sediments; biogeochemistry
1. The effect of eight salts, NaCl, Na2SO4, Na4Fe(CN)6, CaCl2, LaCl3, ThCl4, and basic and acid fuchsin on the cataphoretic P.D. between solid particles and aqueous solutions was measured near the point of neutrality of water (pH 5.8). It was found that without the addition of electrolyte the cataphoretic P.D. between particles and water is very minute near the point of neutrality (pH 5.8), often less than 10 millivolts, if care is taken that the solutions are free from impurities. Particles which in the absence of salts have a positive charge in water near the point of neutrality (pH 5.8) are termed positive colloids and particles which have a negative charge under these conditions are termed negative colloids. 2. If care is taken that the addition of the salt does not change the hydrogen ion concentration of the solution (which in these experiments was generally pH 5.8) it can be said in general, that as long as the concentration of salts is not too high, the anions of the salt have the tendency to make the particles more negative (or less positive) and that cations have the opposite effect; and that both effects increase with the increasing valency of the ions. As soon as a maximal P.D. is reached, which varies for each salt and for each type of particles, a further addition of salt depresses the P.D. again. Aside from this general tendency the effects of salts on the P.D. are typically different for positive and negative colloids. 3. Negative colloids (collodion, mastic, Acheson's graphite, gold, and metal proteinates) are rendered more negative by low concentrations of salts with monovalent cation (e.g. Na) the higher the valency of the anion, though the difference in the maximal P.D. is slight for the monovalent Cl and the tetravalent Fe(CN)6 ions. Low concentrations of CaCl2 also make negative colloids more negative but the maximal P.D. is less than for NaCl; even LaCl3 increases the P.D. of negative particles slightly in low concentrations. ThCl4 and basic fuchsin, however, seem to make the negative particles positive even in very low concentrations. 4. Positive colloids (ferric hydroxide, calcium oxalate, casein chloride—the latter at pH 4.0) are practically not affected by NaCl, are rendered slightly negative by high concentrations of Na2SO4, and are rendered more negative by Na4Fe(CN)6 and acid dyes. Low concentrations of CaCl2 and LaCl3 increase the positive charge of the particles until a maximum is reached after which the addition of more salt depresses the P.D. again. 5. It is shown that alkalies (NaOH) act on the cataphoretic P.D. of both negative and positive particles as Na4Fe(CN)6 does at the point of neutrality. 6. Low concentrations of HCl raise the cataphoretic P.D. of particles of collodion, mastic, graphite, and gold until a maximum is reached, after which the P.D. is depressed by a further increase in the concentration of the acid. No reversal in the sign of charge of the particle occurs in the case of collodion, while if a reversal occurs in the case of mastic, gold, and graphite, the P.D. is never more than a few millivolts. When HCl changes the chemical nature of the colloid, e.g. when HCl is added to particles of amphoteric electrolytes like sodium gelatinate, a marked reversal will occur, on account of the transformation of the metal proteinate into a protein-acid salt. 7. A real reversal in the sign of charge of positive particles occurs, however, at neutrality if Na4Fe(CN)6 or an acid dye is added; and in the case of negative colloids when low concentrations of basic dyes or minute traces of ThCl4 are added. 8. Flocculation of the suspensions by salts occurs when the cataphoretic P.D. reaches a critical value which is about 14 millivolts for particles of graphite, gold, or mastic or denatured egg albumin; while for collodion particles it was about 16 millivolts. A critical P.D. of about 15 millivolts was also observed by Northrop and De Kruif for the flocculation of certain bacteria.
PMCID: PMC2140622  PMID: 19872064
6.  Low-cost carbon-silicon nanocomposite anodes for lithium ion batteries 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):360.
The specific energy of the existing lithium ion battery cells is limited because intercalation electrodes made of activated carbon (AC) materials have limited lithium ion storage capacities. Carbon nanotubes, graphene, and carbon nanofibers are the most sought alternatives to replace AC materials but their synthesis cost makes them highly prohibitive. Silicon has recently emerged as a strong candidate to replace existing graphite anodes due to its inherently large specific capacity and low working potential. However, pure silicon electrodes have shown poor mechanical integrity due to the dramatic expansion of the material during battery operation. This results in high irreversible capacity and short cycle life. We report on the synthesis and use of carbon and hybrid carbon-silicon nanostructures made by a simplified thermo-mechanical milling process to produce low-cost high-energy lithium ion battery anodes. Our work is based on an abundant, cost-effective, and easy-to-launch source of carbon soot having amorphous nature in combination with scrap silicon with crystalline nature. The carbon soot is transformed in situ into graphene and graphitic carbon during mechanical milling leading to superior elastic properties. Micro-Raman mapping shows a well-dispersed microstructure for both carbon and silicon. The fabricated composites are used for battery anodes, and the results are compared with commercial anodes from MTI Corporation. The anodes are integrated in batteries and tested; the results are compared to those seen in commercial batteries. For quick laboratory assessment, all electrochemical cells were fabricated under available environment conditions and they were tested at room temperature. Initial electrochemical analysis results on specific capacity, efficiency, and cyclability in comparison to currently available AC counterpart are promising to advance cost-effective commercial lithium ion battery technology. The electrochemical performance observed for carbon soot material is very interesting given the fact that its production cost is away cheaper than activated carbon. The cost of activated carbon is about $15/kg whereas the cost to manufacture carbon soot as a by-product from large-scale milling of abundant graphite is about $1/kg. Additionally, here, we propose a method that is environmentally friendly with strong potential for industrialization.
PMCID: PMC4112838  PMID: 25114651
Nanostructured carbon; Carbon-silicon nanocomposite; Anode materials; Lithium ion batteries; Electrochemical energy storage; Ball milling technique
7.  Understanding the nature of “superhard graphite” 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:471.
Numerous experiments showed that on cold compression graphite transforms into a new superhard and transparent allotrope. Several structures with different topologies have been proposed for this phase. While experimental data are compatible with most of these models, the only way to solve this puzzle is to find which structure is kinetically easiest to form. Using state-of-the-art molecular-dynamics transition path sampling simulations, we investigate kinetic pathways of the pressure-induced transformation of graphite to various superhard candidate structures. Unlike hitherto applied methods for elucidating nature of superhard graphite, transition path sampling realistically models nucleation events necessary for physically meaningful transformation kinetics. We demonstrate that nucleation mechanism and kinetics lead to M-carbon as the final product. W-carbon, initially competitor to M-carbon, is ruled out by phase growth. Bct-C4 structure is not expected to be produced by cold compression due to less probable nucleation and higher barrier of formation.
PMCID: PMC3384968  PMID: 22745897
8.  Quality of Graphite Target for Biological/Biomedical/Environmental Applications of 14C-Accelerator Mass Spectrometry 
Analytical Chemistry  2010;82(6):2243-2252.
Catalytic graphitization for 14C-accelerator mass spectrometry (14C-AMS) produced various forms of elemental carbon. Our high-throughput Zn reduction method (C/Fe = 1:5, 500 °C, 3 h) produced the AMS target of graphite-coated iron powder (GCIP), a mix of nongraphitic carbon and Fe3C. Crystallinity of the AMS targets of GCIP (nongraphitic carbon) was increased to turbostratic carbon by raising the C/Fe ratio from 1:5 to 1:1 and the graphitization temperature from 500 to 585 °C. The AMS target of GCIP containing turbostratic carbon had a large isotopic fractionation and a low AMS ion current. The AMS target of GCIP containing turbostratic carbon also yielded less accurate/precise 14C-AMS measurements because of the lower graphitization yield and lower thermal conductivity that were caused by the higher C/Fe ratio of 1:1. On the other hand, the AMS target of GCIP containing nongraphitic carbon had higher graphitization yield and better thermal conductivity over the AMS target of GCIP containing turbostratic carbon due to optimal surface area provided by the iron powder. Finally, graphitization yield and thermal conductivity were stronger determinants (over graphite crystallinity) for accurate/precise/high-throughput biological, biomedical, and environmental14C-AMS applications such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination (ADME), and physiologically based pharmacokinetics (PBPK) of nutrients, drugs, phytochemicals, and environmental chemicals.
PMCID: PMC2837469  PMID: 20163100
9.  Biological Interactions of Graphene-Family Nanomaterials – An Interdisciplinary Review 
Graphene is a single-atom thick, two-dimensional sheet of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms isolated from its three-dimensional parent material, graphite. Related materials include few-layer-graphene (FLG), ultrathin graphite, graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and graphene nanosheets (GNS). This review proposes a systematic nomenclature for this set of “Graphene-Family Nanomaterials” (GFNs) and discusses specific materials properties relevant for biomolecular and cellular interactions. The article discusses several unique modes of interaction between GFNs and nucleic acids, lipid bilayers, and conjugated small molecule drugs and dyes. Some GFNs are produced as dry powders using thermal exfoliation, and in these cases inhalation is a likely route of human exposure. Some GFNs have aerodynamic sizes that can lead to inhalation and substantial deposition in the human respiratory tract, which may impair lung defense and clearance leading to formation of granulomas and lung fibrosis. The limited literature on in vitro toxicity suggests that GFNs can be either benign or toxic to cells, and it is hypothesized that the biological response will vary across the material family depending on layer number, lateral size, stiffness, hydrophobicity, surface functionalization, and dose. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in target cells is a potential mechanism for toxicity, although the extremely high hydrophobic surface area of some GFNs may also lead to significant interactions with membrane lipids leading to direct physical toxicity or adsorption of biological molecules leading to indirect toxicity. Limited in vivo studies demonstrate systemic biodistribution and biopersistence of GFNs following intravenous delivery. Similar to other smooth, continuous, biopersistent implants or foreign bodies, GFNs have the potential to induce foreign body tumors. Long-term adverse health impacts must be considered in design of GFNs for drug delivery, tissue engineering, and fluorescence-based biomolecular sensing. Future research is needed to explore fundamental biological responses to GFNs including systematic assessment of the physical and chemical materials properties related to toxicity. Complete materials characterization and mechanistic toxicity studies are essential for safer design and manufacturing of GFNs in order to optimize biological applications with minimal risks for environmental health and safety.
PMCID: PMC3259226  PMID: 21954945
10.  Effect of Graphite Concentration on Shear-Wave Speed in Gelatin-Based Tissue-Mimicking Phantoms 
Ultrasonic imaging  2011;33(2):134-142.
Elasticity-based imaging modalities are becoming popular diagnostic tools in clinical practice. Gelatin-based, tissue mimicking phantoms that contain graphite as the acoustic scattering material are commonly used in testing and validating elasticity-imaging methods to quantify tissue stiffness. The gelatin bloom strength and concentration are used to control phantom stiffness. While it is known that graphite concentration can be modulated to control acoustic attenuation, the impact of graphite concentrationon phantom elasticity has not been characterized in these gelatin phantoms. This work investigates the impact of graphite concentration on phantom shear stiffness as characterized by shear-wave speed measurements using impulsive acoustic-radiation-force excitations. Phantom shear-wave speed increased by 0.83 (m/s)/(dB/(cm MHz)) when increasing the attenuation coefficient slope of the phantom material through increasing graphite concentration. Therefore, gelatin-phantom stiffness can be affected by the conventional ways that attenuation is modulated through graphite concentration in these phantoms.
PMCID: PMC3128385  PMID: 21710828
Acoustic radiation force; ARFI; attenuation coefficient slope; elasticity; graphite; phantom; shear wave; stiffness
11.  Biological/Biomedical Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Targets. 2. Physical, Morphological, and Structural Characteristics 
Analytical Chemistry  2008;80(20):7661-7669.
The number of biological/biomedical applications that require AMS to achieve their goals is increasing, and so is the need for a better understanding of the physical, morphological, and structural traits of high quality of AMS targets. The metrics of quality included color, hardness/texture, and appearance (photo and SEM), along with FT-IR, Raman, and powder X-ray diffraction spectra that correlate positively with reliable and intense ion currents and accuracy, precision, and sensitivity of fraction modern (Fm). Our previous method produced AMS targets of gray-colored iron−carbon materials (ICM) 20% of the time and of graphite-coated iron (GCI) 80% of the time. The ICM was hard, its FT-IR spectra lacked the sp2 bond, its Raman spectra had no detectable G′ band at 2700 cm−1, and it had more iron carbide (Fe3C) crystal than nanocrystalline graphite or graphitizable carbon (g-C). ICM produced low and variable ion current whereas the opposite was true for the graphitic GCI. Our optimized method produced AMS targets of graphite-coated iron powder (GCIP) 100% of the time. The GCIP shared some of the same properties as GCI in that both were black in color, both produced robust ion current consistently, their FT-IR spectra had the sp2 bond, their Raman spectra had matching D, G, G′, D+G, and D′′ bands, and their XRD spectra showed matching crystal size. GCIP was a powder that was easy to tamp into AMS target holders that also facilitated high throughput. We concluded that AMS targets of GCIP were a mix of graphitizable carbon and Fe3C crystal, because none of their spectra, FT-IR, Raman, or XRD, matched exactly those of the graphite standard. Nevertheless, AMS targets of GCIP consistently produced the strong, reliable, and reproducible ion currents for high-throughput AMS analysis (270 targets per skilled analyst/day) along with accurate and precise Fm values.
PMCID: PMC2651734  PMID: 18785762
12.  Capacity fade in Sn–C nanopowder anodes due to fracture 
Journal of Power Sources  2012;197(2):246-252.
► Detailed microscopy was performed on Sn/C anodes before and after cycling. ► Significant fracture of the Sn was observed during cycling. ► The Sn volume average and surface area must be low to prevent fracture.
Sn based anodes allow for high initial capacities, which however cannot be retained due to the severe mechanical damage that occurs during Li-insertion and de-insertion. To better understand the fracture process during electrochemical cycling three different nanopowders comprised of Sn particles attached on artificial graphite, natural graphite or micro-carbon microbeads were examined. Although an initial capacity of 700 mAh g−1 was obtained for all Sn–C nanopowders, a significant capacity fade took place with continuous electrochemical cycling. The microstructural changes in the electrodes corresponding to the changes in electrochemical behavior were studied by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The fragmentation of Sn observed by microscopy correlates with the capacity fade, but this fragmentation and capacity fade can be controlled by controlling the initial microstructure. It was found that there is a dependence of the capacity fade on the Sn particle volume and surface area fraction of Sn on carbon.
PMCID: PMC3208070  PMID: 22241941
Sn–C; Anodes; Nanostructured; Fracture
13.  Non-Destructive Monitoring of Charge-Discharge Cycles on Lithium Ion Batteries using 7Li Stray-Field Imaging 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2596.
Magnetic resonance imaging provides a noninvasive method for in situ monitoring of electrochemical processes involved in charge/discharge cycling of batteries. Determining how the electrochemical processes become irreversible, ultimately resulting in degraded battery performance, will aid in developing new battery materials and designing better batteries. Here we introduce the use of an alternative in situ diagnostic tool to monitor the electrochemical processes. Utilizing a very large field-gradient in the fringe field of a magnet, stray-field-imaging (STRAFI) technique significantly improves the image resolution. These STRAFI images enable the real time monitoring of the electrodes at a micron level. It is demonstrated by two prototype half-cells, graphite∥Li and LiFePO4∥Li, that the high-resolution 7Li STRAFI profiles allow one to visualize in situ Li-ions transfer between the electrodes during charge/discharge cyclings as well as the formation and changes of irreversible microstructures of the Li components, and particularly reveal a non-uniform Li-ion distribution in the graphite.
PMCID: PMC3763251  PMID: 24005580
14.  X-ray absorption spectroscopy by full-field X-ray microscopy of a thin graphite flake: Imaging and electronic structure via the carbon K-edge 
We demonstrate that near-edge X-ray-absorption fine-structure spectra combined with full-field transmission X-ray microscopy can be used to study the electronic structure of graphite flakes consisting of a few graphene layers. The flake was produced by exfoliation using sodium cholate and then isolated by means of density-gradient ultracentrifugation. An image sequence around the carbon K-edge, analyzed by using reference spectra for the in-plane and out-of-plane regions of the sample, is used to map and spectrally characterize the flat and folded regions of the flake. Additional spectral features in both π and σ regions are observed, which may be related to the presence of topological defects. Doping by metal impurities that were present in the original exfoliated graphite is indicated by the presence of a pre-edge signal at 284.2 eV.
PMCID: PMC3388357  PMID: 23016137
carbon; graphene; nanostructure; NEXAFS; X-ray microscopy
15.  Evaluation of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a coke production and a graphite electrode manufacturing plant: assessment of urinary excretion of 1-hydroxypyrene as a biological indicator of exposure. 
OBJECTIVES--Characterisation of the airborne concentration of 13 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at various workplaces in a graphite electrode and a coke production plant. Validation of the urinary excretion of 1-hydroxypyrene (hydroxypyrene) as a biological marker of exposure to PAH. DESIGN--Cross sectional study of workers exposed to PAHs (106 in the graphite electrode producing plant and 16 in the coke works). METHODS--Personal air sampling during at least six hours per workshift using a glass fibre filter and a Chromosorb 102 solid sorbent tube and analysis of PAHs by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and spectrofluorometric detection (SFD). Collection of spot urine samples before and after the shift and analysis of 1-hydroxypyrene by HPLC and SFD. RESULTS--The workers most exposed to PAHs were those occupied at the topside area of the coke oven plant and those working in the blending and impregnation areas of the graphite electrode producing plant (mean airborne concentration of total PAHs: 199 and 223 micrograms/m3 respectively). Except for naphthalene and perylene, the relative proportion of the different PAHs did not differ between the plants. Pyrene concentration in air was highly correlated with the total airborne PAH concentration (r = 0.83, p < 0.0001) and the correlation coefficients between hydroxypyrene concentration in postshift urine samples and pyrene or total PAHs in air were 0.67 (p < 0.0001) and 0.72 (p < 0.0001) respectively. Excretion of hydroxypyrene doubled when the exposure to pyrene in air increased 10-fold. The half life for the urinary excretion of hydroxypyrene was around 18 hours (95% confidence interval 16.1-19.8). Smoking habits only explained 2.3% of the variance in hydroxypyrene excretion compared with 45% for the pyrene concentration in air. CONCLUSION--The determination of the urinary excretion of hydroxypyrene in postshift urine samples can be used as a suitable biomarker to assess individual exposure to PAHs in coke ovens and in graphite electrode manufacturing plants.
PMCID: PMC1039323  PMID: 1463676
16.  Use of Activated Graphitized Carbon Chips for LC/MS and MSMS Analysis of Tryptic Glycopeptides 
Protein glycosylation has a significant medical importance as changes in glycosylation patterns have been associated with a number of diseases. Therefore, monitoring potential changes in glycan profiles, and the microheterogeneities associated with glycosylation sites are becoming increasingly important in the search for disease biomarkers. Highly efficient separations and sensitive methods must be developed to effectively monitor changes in the glycoproteome. These methods must not discriminate against hydrophobic or hydrophilic analytes. The use of activated graphitized carbon as a desalting media and a stationary phase for the purification and the separation of glycans, and as a stationary phase for the separation of small glycopeptides has previously been reported. Here, we describe the use of activated graphitized carbon as a stationary phase for the separation of hydrophilic tryptic glycopeptides, employing a chip-based liquid chromatographic system. The capabilities of both activated graphitized carbon and C18 LC chips for the characterization of the glycopeptides appeared to be comparable. Adequate retention time reproducibility was achieved for both packing types in the chip format. However, hydrophilic glycopeptides were preferentially retained on the activated graphitized carbon chip, thus allowing the identification of hydrophilic glycopeptides which were not effectively retained on C18 chips. On the other hand, hydrophobic glycopeptides were better retained on C18 chips. Characterization of the glycosylation sites of glycoproteins possessing both hydrophilic and hydrophobic glycopeptides is comprehensively achieved using both media. This is feasible considering the limited amount of sample required per analysis (< 1 pmol). The performance of both media was also appeared comparable when analyzing a 4-protein mixture. Similar sequence coverage and MASCOT ion scores were observed for all proteins when using either stationary phase.
PMCID: PMC3658454  PMID: 19145579
Activated graphitized carbon chip; Glycopeptides; LC/MSMS
17.  Diffusion of hydrophobin proteins in solution and interactions with a graphite surface 
BMC Biophysics  2011;4:9.
Hydrophobins are small proteins produced by filamentous fungi that have a variety of biological functions including coating of spores and surface adhesion. To accomplish these functions, they rely on unique interface-binding properties. Using atomic-detail implicit solvent rigid-body Brownian dynamics simulations, we studied the diffusion of HFBI, a class II hydrophobin from Trichoderma reesei, in aqueous solution in the presence and absence of a graphite surface.
In the simulations, HFBI exists in solution as a mixture of monomers in equilibrium with different types of oligomers. The oligomerization state depends on the conformation of HFBI. When a Highly Ordered Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) layer is present in the simulated system, HFBI tends to interact with the HOPG layer through a hydrophobic patch on the protein.
From the simulations of HFBI solutions, we identify a tetrameric encounter complex stabilized by non-polar interactions between the aliphatic residues in the hydrophobic patch on HFBI. After the formation of the encounter complex, a local structural rearrangement at the protein interfaces is required to obtain the tetrameric arrangement seen in HFBI crystals. Simulations performed with the graphite surface show that, due to a combination of a geometric hindrance and the interaction of the aliphatic sidechains with the graphite layer, HFBI proteins tend to accumulate close to the hydrophobic surface.
PMCID: PMC3114038  PMID: 21595866
18.  Simple room-temperature preparation of high-yield large-area graphene oxide 
Graphene has attracted much attention from researchers due to its interesting mechanical, electrochemical, and electronic properties. It has many potential applications such as polymer filler, sensor, energy conversion, and energy storage devices. Graphene-based nanocomposites are under an intense spotlight amongst researchers. A large amount of graphene is required for preparation of such samples. Lately, graphene-based materials have been the target for fundamental life science investigations. Despite graphene being a much sought-after raw material, the drawbacks in the preparation of graphene are that it is a challenge amongst researchers to produce this material in a scalable quantity and that there is a concern about its safety. Thus, a simple and efficient method for the preparation of graphene oxide (GO) is greatly desired to address these problems. In this work, one-pot chemical oxidation of graphite was carried out at room temperature for the preparation of large-area GO with ~100% conversion. This high-conversion preparation of large-area GO was achieved using a simplified Hummer’s method from large graphite flakes (an average flake size of 500 μm). It was found that a high degree of oxidation of graphite could be realized by stirring graphite in a mixture of acids and potassium permanganate, resulting in GO with large lateral dimension and area, which could reach up to 120 μm and ~8000 μm2, respectively. The simplified Hummer’s method provides a facile approach for the preparation of large-area GO.
PMCID: PMC3260037  PMID: 22267928
graphene oxide; simplified Hummer’s method; chemical oxidation
19.  The microwave-assisted ionic liquid nanocomposite synthesis: platinum nanoparticles on graphene and the application on hydrogenation of styrene 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2013;8(1):414.
The microwave-assisted nanocomposite synthesis of metal nanoparticles on graphene or graphite oxide was introduced in this research. With microwave assistance, the Pt nanoparticles on graphene/graphite oxide were successfully produced in the ionic liquid of 2-hydroxyethanaminium formate [HOCH2CH2NH3][HCO2]. On graphene/graphite oxide, the sizes of Pt nanoparticles were about 5 to 30 nm from transmitted electron microscopy (TEM) results. The crystalline Pt structures were examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD). Since hydrogenation of styrene is one of the important well-known chemical reactions, herein, we demonstrated then the catalytic hydrogenation capability of the Pt nanoparticles on graphene/graphite oxide for the nanocomposite to compare with that of the commercial catalysts (Pt/C and Pd/C, 10 wt.% metal catalysts on activated carbon from Strem chemicals, Inc.). The conversions with the Pt nanoparticles on graphene are >99% from styrene to ethyl benzene at 100°C and under 140 psi H2 atmosphere. However, ethyl cyclohexane could be found as a side product at 100°C and under 1,520 psi H2 atmosphere utilizing the same nanocomposite catalyst.
PMCID: PMC3854513  PMID: 24103100
Graphene; Pt nanoparticle; Ionic liquid; Microwave; Hydrogenation of styrene
20.  Role of Peroxide Ions in Formation of Graphene Nanosheets by Electrochemical Exfoliation of Graphite 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4237.
This study demonstrates a facile, mild and environmentally-friendly sustainable (soft processing) approach for the efficient electrochemical exfoliation of graphite using a sodium hydroxide/hydrogen peroxide/water (NaOH/H2O2/H2O) system that can produce high-quality, anodic few-layer graphene nanosheets in 95% yield at ambient reaction conditions. The control experiment conducted using NaOH/H2O revealed the crucial role of H2O2 in the exfoliation of graphite. A possible exfoliation mechanism is proposed. The reaction of H2O2 with hydroxyl ions (HO−) leads to the formation of highly nucleophilic peroxide ions (O22−), which play a crucial role in the exfoliation of graphite via electrochemical-potential-assisted intercalation and strong expansion of graphite sheets.
PMCID: PMC3937785  PMID: 24577336
21.  High-yield Synthesis of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube by Mechanothermal Method 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(4):296-302.
This study reports on the mechanothermal synthesis of multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNTs) from elemental graphite powder. Initially, high ultra-active graphite powder can be obtained by mechanical milling under argon atmosphere. Finally, the mechanical activation product is heat-treated at 1350°C for 2–4 h under argon gas flow. After heat-treatment, active graphite powders were successfully changed into MWCNTs with high purity. The XRD analyses showed that in the duration 150 h of milling, all the raw materials were changed to the desired materials. From the broadening of the diffraction lines in the XRD patterns, it was concluded that the graphite crystallites were nanosized, and raising the milling duration resulted in the fineness of the particles and the increase of the strain. The structure and morphology of MWCNTs were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The yield of MWCNTs was estimated through SEM and TEM observations of the as-prepared samples was to be about 90%. Indeed, mechanothermal method is of interest for fundamental understanding and improvement of commercial synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). As a matter of fact, the method of mechanothermal guarantees the production of MWCNTs suitable for different applications.
PMCID: PMC2893906  PMID: 20596448
Carbon nanotubes; Mechanothermal; Nanotechnology; Advanced materials; Outstanding structure
22.  High-yield Synthesis of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube by Mechanothermal Method 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(4):296-302.
This study reports on the mechanothermal synthesis of multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNTs) from elemental graphite powder. Initially, high ultra-active graphite powder can be obtained by mechanical milling under argon atmosphere. Finally, the mechanical activation product is heat-treated at 1350°C for 2–4 h under argon gas flow. After heat-treatment, active graphite powders were successfully changed into MWCNTs with high purity. The XRD analyses showed that in the duration 150 h of milling, all the raw materials were changed to the desired materials. From the broadening of the diffraction lines in the XRD patterns, it was concluded that the graphite crystallites were nanosized, and raising the milling duration resulted in the fineness of the particles and the increase of the strain. The structure and morphology of MWCNTs were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The yield of MWCNTs was estimated through SEM and TEM observations of the as-prepared samples was to be about 90%. Indeed, mechanothermal method is of interest for fundamental understanding and improvement of commercial synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). As a matter of fact, the method of mechanothermal guarantees the production of MWCNTs suitable for different applications.
PMCID: PMC2893906  PMID: 20596448
Carbon nanotubes; Mechanothermal; Nanotechnology; Advanced materials; Outstanding structure
23.  Physicochemical Characterization, and Relaxometry Studies of Micro-Graphite Oxide, Graphene Nanoplatelets, and Nanoribbons 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38185.
The chemistry of high-performance magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents remains an active area of research. In this work, we demonstrate that the potassium permanganate-based oxidative chemical procedures used to synthesize graphite oxide or graphene nanoparticles leads to the confinement (intercalation) of trace amounts of Mn2+ ions between the graphene sheets, and that these manganese intercalated graphitic and graphene structures show disparate structural, chemical and magnetic properties, and high relaxivity (up to 2 order) and distinctly different nuclear magnetic resonance dispersion profiles compared to paramagnetic chelate compounds. The results taken together with other published reports on confinement of paramagnetic metal ions within single-walled carbon nanotubes (a rolled up graphene sheet) show that confinement (encapsulation or intercalation) of paramagnetic metal ions within graphene sheets, and not the size, shape or architecture of the graphitic carbon particles is the key determinant for increasing relaxivity, and thus, identifies nano confinement of paramagnetic ions as novel general strategy to develop paramagnetic metal-ion graphitic-carbon complexes as high relaxivity MRI contrast agents.
PMCID: PMC3369907  PMID: 22685555
24.  High yield production and purification of few layer graphene by Gum Arabic assisted physical sonication 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1378.
Exploiting the emulsification properties of low cost, environmentally safe Gum Arabic we demonstrate a high yield process to produce a few layer graphene with a low defect ratio, maintaining the pristine graphite structure. In addition, we demonstrate the need for and efficacy of an acid hydrolysis treatment to remove the polymer residues to produce 100% pure graphene. The scalable process gives yield of up to 5 wt% graphene based on 10 g starting graphite. The graphene product is compared with reduced graphene oxide produced through Hummer's method using UV-visible spectroscopy, SEM, TEM, and Raman spectroscopy. The two graphene materials show significant difference in these characterizations. Further, the film fabricated from this graphene exhibits 20 times higher electrical conductivity than that of the reduced graphene oxide. Sonication processing of graphite with environmentally approved biopolymers such as Gum Arabic opens up a scalable avenue for production of cheap graphene.
PMCID: PMC3594761  PMID: 23478744
25.  A nano-graphite cold cathode for an energy-efficient cathodoluminescent light source 
The development of new types of light sources is necessary in order to meet the growing demands of consumers and to ensure an efficient use of energy. The cathodoluminescence process is still under-exploited for light generation because of the lack of cathodes suitable for the energy-efficient production of electron beams and appropriate phosphor materials. In this paper we propose a nano-graphite film material as a highly efficient cold cathode, which is able to produce high intensity electron beams without energy consumption. The nano-graphite film material was produced by using chemical vapor deposition techniques. Prototypes of cathodoluminescent lamp devices with a construction optimized for the usage of nano-graphite cold cathodes were developed, manufactured and tested. The results indicate prospective advantages of this type of lamp and the possibility to provide advanced power efficiency as well as enhanced spectral and other characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3778399  PMID: 24062975
cathodoluminescence; electron field emission; light source; nano-graphite; vacuum electronics

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