Scientists from Greece and France, together with colleagues from the Faculty of Chemistry of Moscow State University and from the IPCP RAS, headed by Professor Dmitry Ivanov, have developed a new approach to obtaining nanocomposites and obtained materials based on polymers and graphene.
The composites obtained are very promising for optoelectronics. The research was carried out within the framework of a mega-grant and published in the journal Polymers.
After the presentation of the Nobel Prize in Physics to Russian scientists for the discovery of graphene in 2010, it became one of the most discussed materials not only in the scientific community, but also among many people who have nothing to do with it. This was expected, because graphene – a two-dimensional layer of carbon one atom thick – has high strength and conductivity, and is attractive for many industrial and scientific industries.
Over the past decade, chemists and physicists from all over the planet have created graphene electrodes, chips, wires and other elements, the use of which improves the performance of a device relative to a metal or plastic “filling”. But what if we combine a novelty with something that is already firmly entrenched in our daily life? Take polymers, for example. Now they are found in almost every object of our life – their properties are so diverse. In addition, polymer compounds are similar to a constructor: you can replace some “cubes” -monomers with others, and the properties of the polymer will change.
The idea of combining graphene and polymers was seriously pondered by an international group of scientists studying the properties and methods of synthesizing polymers with different properties and characteristics:
“We synthesized diblock copolymers that were grafted to chemically modified graphene oxide,” says the Russian head of the megagrant laboratory for functional organic and hybrid polymer systems at Moscow State University, Ph.D. Dmitry Ivanov. “These nanocomposite materials can be used in nanoelectronics, for sensors, membranes for purifying or transporting water and gas, for energy storage.”
“The resulting nanocomposites showed improved thermal stability compared to empty copolymers, which is due to covalent bonds between copolymer matrices and graphene sheets. Polymer nanocomposites are materials that are as easy to work with as with plastics, but they have the best mechanical, thermal, electrical and barrier characteristics, ”says one of the authors of the work, professor, Ph.D. and Apostolos Avgeropoulos, visiting scientist of the mega-grant laboratory of the Faculty of Chemistry of Moscow State University.
Scientists note that it is now difficult to judge the relationship between the structure and properties of graphene and polymer compounds due to the laboriousness of the implementation process. Therefore, the study of “structure – property” relationships can become one of the further directions of research in this area and a big step towards widespread practical application of the obtained nanocomposites. Moreover, block copolymers have already shown their usefulness – on their basis, a material is now being developed that can become a skin substitute, as well as ideal implants that can literally be poured into the body through micro-punctures.
Photo: Alexandra Kucherova / Press Service of the Faculty of Chemistry, Moscow State University
Cover photo: Naked-science.ru