Soft Carbon Sheets: Some New Insights into an Old Material

Engineering Tower 652
Jiaxing Huang

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Abstract: GO sheets are made by exfoliation of graphite using century-old chemical reactions. Interest in this old material has resurged with the rapid development of graphene since 2004, as GO is considered to be a promising precursor for bulk production of graphene. However, GO itself is a very interesting material in its own right. I will share a few stories to show how a curiosity-driven approach leads to new hypotheses in materials research and new applications of graphene-based materials. These include the discoveries of GO’s amphiphilicity, aggregation-resistant crumpled graphene balls and the use of graphene for hair dyes. The curiosity-driven enquiry also enhances the student learning experience. A few examples of student innovations from classrooms will be discussed.

Keywords: 2D surfactant, crumpled graphene balls, aggregation-resistant nanoparticles, lubrication, materials for hair dyes

Bio: Huang is a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University. He received his B.S. degree in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China (2000) and a Ph.D. in chemistry from UCLA (2004); he became a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley before joining Northwestern in 2007. In research, his group uses chemical principles and tools to make material innovations for better living. Some recent examples include carbon-based materials, clay minerals and new colloidal materials for energy storage, water treatments and even cosmetics. Through teaching, they aim to develop intuition, inspire creativity and bring the best out of students and themselves. His work has been recognized by awards from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Vacuum Society and the International Aerosol Research Assembly. Huang is included in the lists of Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry and Most Cited Researchers in Materials Science and Engineering. He is also a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the JSPS Fellowship from Japan and the Humboldt Research Award from Germany.

Host: Allon Hochbaum