Manchester Metropolitan University

Wednesday, 9th March 2011

Graphene v graphite?

Question marks over super-material

GRAPHENE may be the new kid-on-the block of materials science, but it’s not such an effective electrode as its ‘boring old uncle’ – graphite, according to research at Manchester Metropolitan.

The 2-D nanomaterial has caused immense excitement since its free-standing form was isolated by scientists at Manchester University in 2004. It consists of one-atom-thick layers of carbon and possesses physical and chemical properties which have put it at the forefront of developments in high-speed electronics.

However, evidence has emerged that as a biosensor, graphite – graphene’s host material and the same stuff that is in pencil lead – demonstrates superior qualities.

“As an electrode graphene has proved superior to traditional noble-metals and carbon-based materials", states Dr Craig Banks, of the chemistry and environment science team in the School of Science and the Environment.

Biosensor tests

one of most popular papers of 2010“However, when making amperometric biosensors graphite exhibits a superior electrochemical response due to its enhanced percentage of edge-planes sites when compared to graphene.

one of most popular papers of 2010

“Graphene demonstrates spectacular properties but these findings raise questions about it’s future applications in electrochemical sensors.”

Craig collaborated on the research with Dale Brownson, Jonathan Metters and Dimitrios Kampouris. Their paper is published in Electrochemistry Communications.

A further study of the applications of graphene by Banks and Brownson has become one of most popular papers of 2010 and the most often viewed in January 2011 in the chemistry journal Analyst.

Graphene electrochemistry: an overview of potential applications
Dale A. C. Brownson and Craig E. Banks, Analyst, 135, 2768-2778

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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