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Novel graphene-like nanomaterials and related composites: synthesis, characterization, toxicity

Project Status: 3 Approved without Funding
Duration in months: 36 months


Nanostructured materials have shifted many paradigms in physics, chemistry, biology and materials science, enabling tremendous progress in the development of functional materials with unique characteristics, which cannot be formed spontaneously in nature. It has opened up new horizons in electronics, optics, catalysis, biotechnology, medicine, etc. Among the nanomaterials, an important and broad class of carbon nanomaterials has recently added another constituent, i.e. a group of graphene-like materials, including both graphene by itself and many related structures. Since the discovery, graphene-like materials have been attracting a great deal of attention from researchers due to their exceptionally high surface area and remarkable electrical, thermal and mechanical characteristics that may lead to a variety of potential physicochemical and biomedical applications

.The main idea of the Project is that these mentioned properties of graphene-like materials are supposed to not only further enhanced, but might be complemented with new ones, subject to that on their basis novel composite materials be created. Specifically, the works under the Project will be focused on composites of graphene-like materials with metal oxides, including the oxides of 3d- and rare earths metals as these are expected to be applicable in new high-performance electrodes for supercapacitors, gas sensors, catalysts and absorbents of various gases. These physicochemical properties of the prepared composites will be studied and the materials will be fully characterized with respect to their morphology, microstructure, and phase composition

.Another important point to be addressed in the Project is that currently a wide practical use of graphene-like materials is severely hampered by two principal limitations. First, there is a lack of methods and techniques for the synthesis of graphene-like materials and their composites both in required amounts and with controllable composition, structure and morphology. Second, as graphene-like materials are featured by the specific properties of nanomaterials that are extremely active toward biological tissues, the development of technology and applications of graphene, graphene-like materials and their composites can induce unexpected effects concerning their toxicity, the aspect that remain poorly studied. For this reason, the development of effective synthesis methods of the composites of nanosized metal oxides with graphene-like materials prepared by the reduction of graphene oxide and graphite oxide, as well as the study of the dependence of their characteristics on the synthesis conditions and thermal treatment represent attractive tasks to be implemented in the Project. Toxicity of the composites will also be studied

The main aim of the project is the development of synthesis methods of graphene-like nanostructures, the fabrication of their composites with nanosized metal oxides, and study of their physicochemical properties and toxicity relative to animals and environment

To achieve the aim of the Project the following tasks are to be performed:

1. Synthesis and characterization of graphite oxide and related highly dispersed carbon nanomaterials using the modified Hummers method.
2. Synthesis of graphene-like nanostructures by the reduction of graphite oxide and/or graphene oxide, and by the catalytic pyrolysis of hydrocarbons.
3. Synthesis of nanosized oxides of 3d- and rare earth metals.
4. Preparation of new composites of graphene-like nanomaterials with metal oxides (MeOx), Me = 3d- and rare earth metals, and study of their physicochemical properties.
5. Study of toxicity and hygienic aspects of all synthesized graphene-like nanomaterials and their composites with MeOx, and assessment of their possible use in medicine.
State of Research in V.I. Nikitin Institute of Chemistry:
? work experience has been gained and synthesis methods have been developed in nanosized rare-earth and transition metal oxides as well as carbon nanomaterials. ? special laboratory equipment has been built to fabricate composites based on highly dispersed carbon materials. ? state of the art in the field of so-called 3D graphene foam, its properties and applications have been analyzed and summarized in a comprehensive review paper. ? methods of the investigation of the toxicity of nanomaterials have been elaborated.
Influence of the proposed Project on progress in the area.
? Graphene has already demonstrated a high potential to impact most areas of electronic information technology, ranging from top-end high performance applications in ultrafast information processing to consumer applications that use transparent or flexible electronic structures.? Among various applications of graphene, those related to biomedicine have attracted ever-increasing interest.Therefore, the synthesis and study of new graphene-like structures and their composites to be carried out in the Project are of both scientific and practical importance. The study of toxicity of graphene and new graphene-like structures to be obtained within the Project will open up possibilities to minimize toxic effect of these materials toward human beings, animals and environment, and thereby widen their practical applications.
The competence of project participants of the specified area.
The project will be carried out in V.I. Nikitin Institute of Chemistry, AS of Republic of Tajikistan, where over more than 40 years the project participants are engaged in the synthesis and investigation of new compounds of rare earth elements, including nanosized rare earth oxides.
Expected results and their application
.As a result of the works within the Project novel composite nanomaterials based on graphene-like nanostructures will be obtained, and their physicochemical properties will be carefully studied. These composites are expected to find their use for the creation of new high-performance supercapacitors, catalysts, nanosorbents, and nanomagnets, as well as for diagnostics in medicine. The applicability of such composites in these fields will be investigated and their toxicity will also be assessed.

Participating Institutions


MER Corporation