Rice University scientists modify "flash graphene" technique with a special focus on plastic

Rice University's process to produce pristine graphene in bulk from waste (dubbed “flash graphene”) was recently modified for recycling plastic. Instead of raising the temperature of a carbon source with direct current, as in the original process, the lab first exposes plastic waste to around eight seconds of high-intensity alternating current, followed by the DC jolt.

Flash graphene made from plastic by a Rice University lab imagePost-consumer plastic received from a recycler is then mixed with carbon black and processed into turbostratic graphene via timed pulses of AC and DC electricity. Image by the Tour Group

The products are high-quality turbostratic graphene, a valuable and soluble substance that can be used to enhance electronics, composites, concrete and other materials, and carbon oligomers, molecules that can be vented away from the graphene for use in other applications.

Mapping crystal shapes could fast-track mass production of 2D materials

Materials scientists at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania have published an article calling for a collective, global effort to fast-track the mass production of 2D materials like graphene and molybdenum disulfide.

Learning from the Nakaya diagram could further 2D materials production image

In their perspective article, journal editor-in-chief Jun Lou and colleagues make a case for a focused, collective effort to address the research challenges that could clear the way for large-scale mass production of 2D materials.

Rice University team aims to improve wastewater treatment using nanospheres wrapped in graphene oxide

Researchers at Rice University design a "shield" made of graphene oxide, that helps particles destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria and free-floating antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants.

 A shield of graphene helps particles destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria and free-floating antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants image

The labs of Rice environmental scientist Pedro Alvarez and Yalei Zhang, a professor of environmental engineering at Tongji University, Shanghai, introduced these microspheres wrapped in graphene oxide. Alvarez and his partners in the Rice-based Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) have worked toward quenching antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" since first finding them in wastewater treatment plants in 2013.

Rice University researchers use sticky tape to improve batteries

Rice University scientists led by Prof. James Tour have turned adhesive tape into a silicon oxide film (mixed with laser-induced graphene) which replaces troublesome anodes in lithium metal batteries.

Rice University scientists stick to their laser guns to improve lithium metal technology imageAt left, a copper current collector with a laser-induced silicon oxide coating created at Rice University. At right, a scanning electron microscope image of the coating created by lasing adhesive tape on the copper collector. Courtesy of the Tour Group

The researchers used an infrared laser cutter to convert the silicone-based adhesive of commercial tape into the porous silicon oxide coating, mixed with a small amount of laser-induced graphene from the tape’s polyimide backing. The protective silicon oxide layer forms directly on the current collector of the battery.