Chemists Synthesize Nanographenes using Ball Mill

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Chemists synthesize nanographenes using ball mill, according to a study conducted on May 25, 2018.

This study was conducted by the chemists at TU Dresden. Due to the unique electrical, thermal, and mechanical characteristics, graphene and nanographenes are known as a very promising material for applications in electronics, sensor technology, and energy storage. This study demonstrates an innovative method of mechanochemical synthesis of nanographenes.

Researchers replaced solvents with ball mills for the synthesis of nanographenes. The research group was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Reserach (BMBF) and is a project of the funding initiative ‘Materialforschung für die Energiewende’. The aim of the researchers was to develop a resource-, energy- and time-efficient synthesis method for carbon-based electrode materials.

Highly aromatic molecular systems (systems with a high number of conjugated bonds that are very stable) such as nanographenes have poor solubility. Therefore, synthesizing nanographenes using conventional chemical methods such as solvent is not possible. The Borchardt group exclusively worked with the intense mechanical forces of ball mills. A chemical reaction is initiated by the huge forces in the mills and a hexaphenylbenzene precursor is converted into a completely aromatic system. Dr. Lars Borchardt, chemist said, “We can also broaden the feasibility of this famous reaction towards molecules that are insoluble.”

The triangular shaped C60 and C222 nanogarphenes were synthesized by the scientists in very short time and little effort. The research is being continued with the aim of producing even larger molecules such as graphene nanoribbons, which are adaptable for application.

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