MAE Webinar: From Carbon Origami to Graphene Bridges - Controlling Carbon 3D Shapes, Microstructure and Function

Webinar. Details TBA
Marc Madou, Ph.D.
Chancellor's Professor
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
UC Irvine

Abstract: Over the last two decades we have gained more and more insight into how to convert patterned polymer precursors into predicable 3D carbon shapes by pyrolysis/carbonization. Over the last four years we also have started gaining control over the internal carbon microstructure and its functionality. The key to the latter is a precise control of the polymer precursor chains and the exact polymer atomic composition of the polymer before and during pyrolysis. Contradicting Rosalind Franklin, we have found that it is possible to graphitize even non-graphitizing carbons (!) simply by applying mechanical stresses to align the polymer precursor chains and stabilizing them in position before pyrolysis. One outcome of this work has been the recent demonstration of the conversion of PAN fibers through pyrolysis into a material that electrochemically behaves exactly like graphene doped with nitrogen. The latter material represents a very electroactive electrode ideally suited for energy and sensing applications. The current fabrication process for graphene doped with nitrogen is lengthy and complicated; ours is a one-step simple process that is easily scalable. A second outcome has been the fabrication of suspended turbostratic graphene bridges. This constitutes the first demonstration of graphene fabrication from the pyrolysis of a polymer precursor.

Bio: Before joining UCI as a Chancellor’s Professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering (MEA), Marc Madou was vice president of advanced technology at Nanogen in San Diego. He specializes in the application of miniaturization technology to chemical and biological problems (BIO-MEMS). He is the author of several books in this burgeoning field he helped pioneer both in academia and industry. He founded several micromachining companies and has been on the board of many more. Madou, today, works with research teams in India (IIT Kharagpur), Mexico (Tec de Monterrey), Malaysia (UM) and Germany (KIT). In the recent past, he also worked on large projects with teams in South Korea and Canada. Many of his colleagues became well known in their own right in academia and through successful MEMS start-ups. Madou was the founder of the SRI International’s Microsensor Department, founder and president of Teknekron Sensor Development Corporation (TSDC), Visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley and an endowed chair at the Ohio State University (professor in chemistry and materials science and engineering). The third edition of hi “Fundamentals of Microfabrication,” an introduction to MEMS and NEMS, has become known as the bible of micromachining. Madou has an h-index of 76 (as of Jan. 14, 2020), and he is considered the pioneer of two research fields that are now being pursued worldwide: carbon micro- and nanofabrication (C-MEMS and C-NEMS) and compact disc fluidics (CD-fluidics) for molecular diagnostics. These two technologies have resulted in at least 10 start-up companies worldwide. From those founded by Madou, Enevate, a lithium ion battery company in Irvine, California, is the largest and best known. Madou is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. To find out more about his most recent research projects, visit