Carbon atoms bounded together to form repeated hexagon patterns is called Graphene, and it is considered as 2-d crystal structure. Due to its shape, it has unique properties such as both the strongest, and the lightest material in the world, most conductive, and transparent.
Although the graphene is expensive and relatively hard to manufacture, effective and inexpensive graphene derivatives can be produced. Graphene oxide (GO) is one of these, and it is oxidized form of graphene, so one can make graphene via dispersion of graphene oxide in water and also other solvents. Graphene oxide is not a good conductor even it is considered as electrical insulator, but functionalization can be done depending on the application such as optoelectronics, bio-devices, and drug-delivery systems.
Energy is the blood stream in our modern lives. We consume huge amount of energy, yet most of this energy comes from fossil fuels. Humans have been using fossil fuels as the main source of energy for centuries. This heavy dependence on fossil fuels left us with enormous environmental and consumption issues. These issues need to be solved by finding new methods of producing, transporting and consuming energy. The achievement of secure and long-term energy supply is the biggest challenge in the 21st century. Another challenges include efficient transportation and usage of the produced energy. These challenges can be overcomed by new technologies which can introduce promising solutions. Nanotechnology represents the key which opens the door into anticipative solutions for energy problems. Nanotechnology brings new nanomaterials with extraordinary properties. These properties if applied into energy applications may change the way of energy production and consumption that we know.
Before talking about the possible energy applications that nanotechnology can resolve; let’s explore some of these materials and see how they illustrate extraordinary properties. One of the nanomaterials that exhibited high research interest in the last two decades is carbon nanotubes (CNT). CNTs were discovered in 1991 by Japanese scientist Sumio Iijima. They are tiny tubes that consist of carbon atoms covalently connected in hexagonal cylindrical shapes. There are two types of CNT; single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) and multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). CNTs show excellent strength,elasticity, electric and thermal conductivity properties. These properties if applied into energy sector can bring cheaper, easier, and more efficient methods for the production, transportation, and consumption of energy.
Another new nanomaterial that was discovered recently (in 2004) is graphene. Graphene consists of covalently bonded carbon atoms in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice. Like CNT, graphene show excellent physical and chemical properties which makes it very interesting material for energy applications. A lot of studies are conducted to adjust graphene in energy applications. Some of these studies are focused in the efficient transportation and storage of electric energy.
In addition to CNT and graphene, there are various nanoparticles that find outstanding applications in energy field. Nanoparticles are the particles that have size dimensions at the range of 1-100nm. These nanoparticles have high surface areas which increase their chemical activity. Moreover, they exhibit excellent optical and conductivity properties. Harvesting energy from renewable sources such as solar energy is one of the main application where nanoparticles are highly used.
Other materials at the nanoscale show also numerous excellent properties. In addition, energy field is wide and the introduction of nanomaterials can be achieved in different uses. In the following blogs we are going to discover the applications of these nanomaterials in; solar energy, hydrogen technology, energy storage, fuel cells, energy transportation, and energy consumption. We will see how the introduction of the nanomaterials in the mentioned fields could transform the way of our energy consumption.
Graphene is a marvellous material and shows potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategy !
Cancer starts when cells in our bodies start to reproduce out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. These abnormal cells form lumps, known as tumours. Cancer cells are able to invade other parts of the body, where they settle and grow to form new tumours known as secondary deposits – the original site is known as the primary tumour. The cells spread by getting into the blood or lymph vessels and travelling around the body. Cancer harms the body in a number of ways.
The size of the tumour can interfere with nearby organs or ducts that carry important chemicals. For example, a tumour on the pancreas can grow to block the bile duct, leading to the patient developing obstructive jaundice. A brain tumour can push on important parts of the brain, causing blackouts, fits and other serious health problems. There may also be more widespread problems such as loss of appetite and increased energy use with loss of weight, or changes in the body’s clotting system leading to deep vein thrombosis.
Graphene is one of the most popular material in last decade. There are several application area since graphene has remarkable characteristics. For example, graphene is light, strong, flexible, bendable, high conductive.
Some researchers from The University of Manchester won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 thanks to these unique properties of graphene.
Besides physical research, biological researches included graphene and graphene based materials continue in all around the world. Professor Lisanti is from University of Manchester, directs the Manchester Centre for Cellular Metabolism. He stated that cancer stem cells not only possess the ability to give rise to many different tumour cell types but also stay in the body after chemotherapy, radiotheraphy and other complicated surgeries. These type of stem cells are responsible for the spread of cancer within whole body. The process of cancer cells spreading is called metastasis. Main responsible factor for 90% of cancer deaths is metastasis process not actually cancer. Cancer stem cells do not act like other cell types. They can not be affected by chemotherapy, radiotheraphy and drug theraphy. Therefore cancer stem cells play an important role in in the recurrence of tumours after treatment. Due to this unique properties of the cancer stem cells, cancer seems like an unsolvable problem in the world.
Moreover Dr Lisanti stated that graphene oxide material is stable in water and this property means that it can be used in several biomedical applications. Graphene oxide can easily attach or enter the cancer cells and this makes them candidates for designed drug delivery. Furthermore, graphene oxide can be used as an effective anticancer drug. Normally cancer stem cells tend to be make small mass of cells called as a tumor sphere. When graphene oxide applied into this process, cancer stem cells could not form these shape of tumor. On the contrary, graphene oxide forced cancer stem cells to differentiate into non-cancer stem-cells.
This means graphene oxide itself can be used in not only tagging but also treating of cancer.
Scientists are creating targeted cancer therapies using their latest insights into cancer at a molecular level. These treatments block the growth of cancer by interfering with genetic switches and molecules specifically involved in tumour growth and progression. Clinical trials using gene therapy are also underway. This experimental treatment involves adding genetic material into a person’s cells to fight or prevent disease.
Graphene oxide is one of the most promising material for anti cancer theraphy and graphene based anti cancer materials will be more popular in the last decade.
Graphene is known as the wonder material for today’s technology thanks to its very small size (only one atom thick and considered 2 dimensional), electron mobility and heat transfer properties (is known as having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity), transparency (~%98) and mechanical performance (200 times stronger than steel). It has not many applications in the industry so far because mass production of the material is not yet achieved and its price is still high.
Mass production and low prices for graphene will be achieved soon, so a lot of researchers worldwide has already been studying on the applications of this important material since its discovery (including researcers of important corporations like IBM, Samsung, GE etc.).
IBM corporation is doing some of the leading works for the applications of graphene and they recently created and demonstrated a high speed transistor with this wonder material. It has the highest cut-off frequency achieved so far for any other transistor (100 GigaHertz, frequency for Silicon transistors is only 40 GigaHertz). In addition to its high frequency, this graphene based transistor’s production is also compatible with the ones that are used for Silicon technology. These transistors are produced with the thermal decomposition of the SiC wafer.
For details: https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/29343.wss