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New developments in Graphene research from Adelaide University

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Graphene research funding to the University of Adelaide is paying off, with two new papers recently presented at the Nanotech USA Conference.

The graphene research team headed by Professor Dusan Losic has made progress on several applications for the new nanomaterial in recent months, including excellent performance as in new adsorbents for water purification.

Other new applications investigated by Losic’s team include removal of toxic metals from waste waters, for removing spilled oils from water, as well as uses in soil remediation and in agricultural applications.

The academic research papers, presented at one of the world’s largest nanotech conferences held in Washington, look at a new, green approach for the reduction of graphene oxide using non-aromatic amino acids which can be used for production of graphene and graphene oxide with controllable size and chemistry of nanosheets.

The second paper outlines the development of graphene composite hydrogels and aerogels for selective removal of oils and organic contaminants.

New research efforts will be turned to identifying key opportunities for commercial development.

Graphite miner Archer Exploration has committed $200,000 over two years to funding the Graphene Research Centre at Adelaide University, while Valence Industries have committed 800,000 over three and a half years.

Graphene was first isolated in 2004, and is a one-atom thick layer of graphite, is the basic structural element of graphite, charcoal, and carbon nanotubes and spherical fullerenes.

The high-tech, two-dimensional substance has a range of potential applications, including lightweight, thin, flexible, yet durable display screens, electric circuits, and solar cells, as well as various medical, chemical and industrial processes.

Graphite became a prospect of notable interest in South Australia early last year, with a spate of new graphite resource discoveries on the Eyre Peninsula.

The Uley mine is the only graphite mine in Australia, which was reopened by Valence Industries earlier this year.

The resource is relatively uncommon and produced in only a few countries, including Brazil, Canada, India, China, and The Glorious Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

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