Big Range of Behaviors For Tiny Graphene Pores

Like biological channels, graphene pores are selective for certain types of ions.

Author: Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office

The surface of a single cell contains hundreds of tiny pores, or ion channels, each of which is a portal for specific ions. Ion channels are typically about 1 nanometer wide; by maintaining the right balance of ions, they keep cells healthy and stable. Now researchers at MIT have created tiny pores in single sheets of graphene that have an array of preferences and characteristics similar to those of ion channels in living cells. Each graphene pore is less than 2 nanometers wide, making them among the smallest pores through which scientists have ever studied ion flow. Each is also uniquely selective, preferring to transport certain ions over others through the graphene layer.

“What we see is that there is a lot of diversity in the transport properties of these pores, which means there is a lot of potential to tailor these pores to different applications or selectivities,” says Rohit Karnik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT.

Read more

Graphene Oxide Biosensor Could Speed Up Research on Cancer and HIV Drugs

graphene oxide bio sensorLonging to find a cure for cancer, HIV and other yet incurable diseases, researchers have already tried out hundreds of drugs, each requiring preclinical and clinical testing with live subjects. How many chemical agents more to try? Moving at such rate, will we find the cure during our lifetime?

One of the easiest ways to speed up the drug development process is to simply perform it outside of the living body (e.g., by watching the substances react with the smallest pieces of live tissue and thus quickly predicting the overall effect it will mak
e to the body when inside).  This approach will eventually provide more effective preclinical selection of drug candidates for the subsequent long-term and expensive clinical trial. This could get the humanity closer to finding the cures we’ve long been seeking for.

Researchers from the Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – MIPT (Russia) have devised a novel type of graphene oxide (GO) based biosensor that could potentially significantly speed up the process of drug development. The outstanding properties of this carbon allotrope help to improve significantly the biosensing sensitivity, which in future may enable the development of new drugs and vaccines against many dangerous diseases including HIV, hepatitis and cancer. The research, led by Yury Stebunov, a scientist at the MIPT, was published in the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Read more

Research on Graphene Composite for Bullet Proof Vests and Military Armor

Graphene bullet proof vestA team of Chinese scientists from the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have reportedly created a super graphene composite. The material is composed of graphene tubes that can withstand a force of 40,000 times its own weight without distortion. To put this into perspective this force is similar to being 10.9km below the ocean’s surface in the Mariana Trench. Strength is a major characteristic of graphene as well the property of being light in weight. This graphene composite material is reported to be 207 times stronger than steel.

The material is expected to be used for security and military hardware. The graphene composite could be used to produce very strong and extra light weight bulletproof vests and security coverings for tanks and aircraft. The researcher’s claim that this graphene composite is an improvement over standard graphene. The material can be compressed to 5% its original size over 1000 times and can still revert back to its original form after compression.

Read more

A Better, Faster, and Safer Graphene Production Method

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) along with the University Of Western Australia (UWA), has developed a new method of producing graphene. This production process may further enhance graphene’s viability for energy storage.

Compared to current manufacturing processes, this new production method has been described as being able to synthesize higher quality graphene in a much faster time frame. Even more astounding is the claim that this method is scalable to a commercial level.

One of the benefits of this new production technology is there is a decreased need for the use of toxic chemicals in the production process.

Read more

3D White Graphene Will Cool Electronics Better

White Graphene Electronics CoolingTwo Rice University researchers, Rouzbeh Shahsavari and Navid Sakhavand have submitted initial theoretical data on how 3D boron nitride (white graphene) can be utilized to regulate heat flow in small electronics.

The ultimate goal of their research is to improve cooling and airflow of heat in smaller electronic devises.

Shahsavari states, “Typically in all electronics, it is highly desired to get heat out of the system as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he further elaborated on why an improvement on current and old cooling methods is required, “when you have layered materials on a substrate … heat moves very quickly in one direction, along a conductive plane, but not so good from layer to layer.” 

Read more