A method invented by IUPUI researchers to reliably produce graphene materials with a high surface area has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Graphene is a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb pattern. As a two-dimensional nanosheet, its high surface area and high in-plane electronic conductivity make it an attractive candidate for applications in electronic devices and composite materials. The primary method to make graphene, however, usually encourages single graphene sheets to stack together in a haphazard fashion, which leads to the loss of effective surface area. This affects the use of graphene in batteries and supercapacitors, where high surface area is desired.
IUPUI researchers have developed a method that can effectively prevent the restacking of graphene sheets by incorporating functionalized nanocarbon particles. This leads to excellent battery cycle life, i.e. >500 cycles with less than two percent capacity loss. They disclosed their invention to the Indiana University Innovation and Commercialization Office, which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at Indiana University so it can be commercialized by industry.