Graphene is a two-dimensional carbon polymorph that exhibits remarkable structure-property relations. Consequently, there has been immense effort undertaken towards developing methods for graphene synthesis. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and chemical exfoliation from colloidal suspensions are two common methods used for obtaining graphene films. However, the underlying experimental conditions have to be carefully optimized in order to obtain graphene films of controllable thickness and morphology. In this context, the first part of this talk will focus on steps developed to improve current CVD-based and chemical exfoliation based methods for synthesizing high quality graphene films for applications as anti-corrosive coatings and filtration membranes.
Fullerene (C60) is another carbon nanostructure that has garnered attention due to unique structure and chemical properties. Recently, there has been increased focus towards harnessing the properties of fullerenes, leading to the synthesis of extended fullerene self-assemblies (FSA). In this context, using a straightforward wet chemistry procedure, the rapid fabrication of FSA in the form of rods, tubes as well as more complex shapes will be discussed. In particular, by suitably modifying the kinetics of self-assembly, the ability to reliably control the spatial distribution, size, shape, morphology and chemistry of FSA will be demonstrated. Further, exploiting the inherent micro- and meso-porosity of FSA, the ability to significantly increase the specific capacitance as well as power density of carbon based supercapacitors will also be discussed.
Finally, using molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with density functional theory (DFT), strategies for devising hybrid graphene-fullerene nanostructures with tunable thermal conductivity will be discussed. Specifically, using pillared graphene structures, graphene antidot structures and polymerized FSA structures, new insights into propagation of thermal phonons in these structures, and the ability to control the propagation characteristics in the context of thermal interface materials and thermoelectrics will be examined.