Rutgers experts discover easy way to make graphene for flexible and printable electronics, energy storage, and catalysis
Rutgers University engineers have found a simple method for producing high-quality graphene that can be used in next-generation electronic and energy devices: bake the compound in a microwave oven.
The discovery is documented in a study published online today in the journal Science.
“This is a major advance in the graphene field,” said Manish Chhowalla, professor and associate chair in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Rutgers’ School of Engineering. “This simple microwave treatment leads to exceptionally high quality graphene with properties approaching those in pristine graphene.”
The discovery was made by post-doctoral associates and undergraduate students in the department, said Chhowalla, who is also the director of the Rutgers Institute for Advanced Materials, Devices and Nanotechnology. Having undergraduates as co-authors of a Science paper is rare but he said “the Rutgers Materials Science and Engineering Department and the School of Engineering at Rutgers cultivate a culture of curiosity driven research in students with fresh ideas who are not afraid to try something new.”
Graphene – 100 times tougher than steel – conducts electricity better than copper and rapidly dissipates heat, making it useful for many applications. Large-scale production of graphene is necessary for applications such as printable electronics, electrodes for batteries and catalysts for fuel cells.
Graphene comes from graphite, a carbon-based material used by generations of students and teachers in the form of pencils. Graphite consists of sheets or layers of graphene.
The easiest way to make large quantities of graphene is to exfoliate graphite into individual graphene sheets by using chemicals. The downside of this approach is that side reactions occur with oxygen – forming graphene oxide that is electrically non-conducting, which makes it less useful for products.
Removing oxygen from graphene oxide to obtain high-quality graphene has been a major challenge over the past two decades for the scientific community working on graphene. Oxygen distorts the pristine atomic structure of graphene and degrades its properties.
Chhowalla and his group members found that baking the exfoliated graphene oxide for just one second in a 1,000-watt microwave oven, like those used in households across America, can eliminate virtually all of the oxygen from graphene oxide.
Rutgers and Stanford scientists develop novel way to inject healthy human nerve cells into the brain
The scaffolds, loaded with healthy, beneficial neurons that can replace diseased cells, were injected into mouse brains. Neurons, or nerve cells, are critical for human health and functioning. Human brains have about 100 billion neurons, which serve as messengers that transmit signals from the body to the brain and vice versa.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, /ˈrʌtɡərz/, commonly referred to as Rutgers University, Rutgers, or RU, is an American public research university and the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey in the United States.
Originally chartered as Queen’s College on 10 November 1766, Rutgers is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine “Colonial Colleges” founded before the American Revolution. The college was renamed Rutgers College in 1825 in honour of Colonel Henry Rutgers (1745–1830), a New York City landowner, philanthropist and former military officer, whose generous donation to the school allowed it reopen after years of financial difficulty.
For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church and admitted only male students. The college expanded its role in research and instruction in agriculture, engineering, and science when it was named as the state’s sole land-grant college in 1864 under the Morrill Act of 1862. It gained university status in 1924 with the introduction of graduate education and further expansion. However, Rutgers evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated “The State University of New Jersey” by the New Jersey Legislature in laws enacted in 1945 and 1956. It is one of only two colonial colleges that later became public universities.
Rutgers has four campuses that enrolls approximately 65,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The university’s four campuses offer instruction by distinguished faculty in 175 academic departments and Rutgers is widely regarded as one of the top public university systems in the world. The university is spread out across the City of New Brunswick and Piscataway Township, with campuses in Newark and Camden. The Newark campus was formerly the University of Newark, which merged into the Rutgers system in 1946. The Camden campus was created in 1950 after Rutgers acquired two institutions: the College of South Jersey and the South Jersey Law School.
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Tiny worms could be key to solving Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune ailments There is a new weapon in the fight against autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and lupus, the common trait of which is an immune system that attacks its own organs and tissues.
“What we would like to do now is harness components of the type 2 immune response to target the control of harmful inflammation that can lead to autoimmune diseases like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease,” Gause says.
“Finding new ways to stimulate these regulatory components of the type 2 immune response may provide us with a new set of tools to target the control of harmful inflammatory responses now associated with this wide array of different diseases.” For now, live helminths or helminth byproducts may be introduced into the body on a short-term basis to train compromised immune systems.