Graphene is a crystalline material consisting of one layer of carbon atoms, arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The material is 100 times thinner than a human hair but 20 times stronger than steel. At the same time, graphene is light and flexible, and also conducts both electricity and heat very well.
As graphene has these properties, there are many potential uses. Improved batteries and touch screens for mobiles and tablets are some examples but if graphene is combined with layers of other materials, the possibilities are even bigger.
– Yes, the potential is enormous and now our imagination is put to a test. Graphene could be used for sensors for measuring of e.g. cholesterol, glucose or haemoglobin levels in the body, new antibiotics or cure for cancer, or perhaps for curtains that capture sunlight and heat up the house. Another thing is that graphene-based materials shall allow water to pass through it while blocking other liquids or gases. It could therefore be utilized as a filter of, for instance, drinking water. Also, because the material is so strong and weighs so little it can be used to produce new composites in aircrafts or other vehicles, in order to save weight and reduce energy consumption.
Thanks to the funding granted by Chalmers Foundation, Vincenzo Palermo will be able to expand his research team.
– I am very happy for the opportunities this gives me. The funding will lead to the development of innovative composites of 2D materials with polymers and metals, the creation of new industrial collaboration with key partners and, last but not least, to the training of a new group of young researchers from Chalmers.
Vincenzo Palermo obtained his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 2003 at the University of Bologna, after working at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) and at the Steacie Institute, National Research Council (Ottawa, Canada). Now Vincenzo Palermo holds a position as research professor at Chalmers Department of Industrial and Materials Science
in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is acting as vice-director of the Graphene Flagship
- > 130 scientific articles (>4000 citations, h-index=35).
- In 2012 he won the Lecturer Award for Excellence of the Federation of European Materials Societies (FEMS)
- In 2013 he won the Research Award of the Italian Society of Chemistry (SCI).
- He has published two books on the life and science of Albert Einstein (Hoepli, 2015) and of Isaac Newton (Hoepli, 2016).
- In November 2017 he won a Research Project Grant for Engineering Sciences, assigned within the Research Grants Open call 2017 from Vetenskapsrådet.
The donation from the Chalmers University of Technology Foundation comprises SEK 15 million divided over three years by SEK 5 million per year during the period of 2018-2020. The money is intended to part-finance a research group to Professor Vincenzo Palermo and to finance laboratory equipment. The research group is supposed to consist of two research assistants and two post-docs.
Text: Nina Silow
Photo: Graphene Flagship