RRP 8: Graphne research for lithium technologies

Person Responsible: Boštjan Genorio, PhD (Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Tecnology)

Graphene-based nanomaterials have attracted wide attention due to their promise for use in industrial applications. They exhibit great electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties and can be prepared in different ways. Most of the methods including the most common CVD growth are costly, time consuming and can provide only insignificant amount of the graphene product. Two important issues need to be solved to fully utilize graphene and its derivatives in industrial applications: a) bulk preparation of high quality graphene-based nanomaterials and b) processability and incorporation of these materials into devices.

In pursuit of the above mentioned objectives the focus of the RRP will be on the improvement of “one-pot” method that can yield bulk quantities of easily processable final graphene materials. Pristine graphene materials are very difficult to disperse, thus functionalization is generally required. The know-how developed in our group enables selective functionalization with various functional groups without disturbing electrical properties of the graphene sheets. The greatest results were obtained with commercially available carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which were converted into a graphene nanoribbon stacks (GNRs). The wet chemistry approach that was developed, yielded alkyl-edge-functionalized graphene nanoribbon stacks (A-GNRs). Edge alkylation greatly improved solubility in organic solvents without sacrificing single ribbon conductivity.

With respect to our present knowledge the aim of the RRP will be a preparation of functionalized graphene based materials with electroactive molecules and testing prepared materials in coffee-bag cell– relevant to Li-ion batteries. Electroactive molecules will be synthesized from organic precursors. Organic chemistry offers endless possibilities to tune electroactive properties of synthesized materials. Further we will try to show the concept of enhanced percolation of iron intercalated functionalized graphene nanoribbon stacks (Fe@F-GNRs). We have shown previously that aligned Fe@GNRs dispersions enhanced electrical percolation at given concentrations in previously non-conductive solvents. Above mentioned is of great importance for Li-ion batteries and could have an impact on volume and mass capacity.

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