Sandwich -Type Nanocomposite of Reduced Graphene Oxide and Periodic Mesoporous Silica


Composite materials combine two or more components, each with distinct properties and functions, into one material so as to takes advantages of the synergy among the components. Developing novel components for critical applications such as catalysis and energy science are in high demand in industry. When different properties and function of constituent components interact synergistically, , the composite can show  entirely new functions and application opportunities, which could not have been possible with the individual components separately. This is representative of the Nanochemistry approach to novel materials, especially in this case where graphene oxide and periodic mesoporous silica with distinct properties have been chemically integrated to form a new kind of composite.

Researchers led by Dr. Zheng-Ming Wang at National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan in collaboration with researchers at University of Toronto led by Professor Geoffrey Ozin investigated nanocomposites formed from graphene oxide and periodic mesoporous silica. The study seeks to uncover the benefits that could be obtained from vertically aligned mesochannels in the formation of the nanocomposites. At a step towards understanding the synergistic interaction between graphene oxide and periodic mesoporous silica, the present study focuses on  examining the formation and effects of pore depth and sizes of the materials. This part of the research has been recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The researchers were able to obtain the unexpected vertical channel growth through surfactants and the graphene as templates. The focus of the work was the means of controlling the depth of the aligned mesochannels and the pore sizes due to their importance in determining the properties of the resulting nanocomposite. Hydrolysis of the silica precursor tetraethyl orthosilicate proved to be the key in the control of the depth of mesochannels, for periodic mesoporous silica. By using a combination of X-ray scattering and synchrotron characterization methods, the authors for the first time show that the vertical growth of the microchannels are initiated on graphene oxide substrate in the presence of surfactant in solutions.

The research team also found out that this type of nanocomposite can be built more easily and quickly by tuning the synthesis conditions as well as alkyl chain lengths of the surfactants. The templating function of the surfactant solution used in the process are affected by various factors, such as the reaction temperature and  concentration of the surfactant. Judicious choices of these critical reaction parameters are important in successful synthesis of good sandwich structures of graphene oxide-periodic mesoporous silica.

The study by Zheng-Ming Wang and colleagues has therefore successfully presented a means of building a sandwich nanocomposite comprising of graphene oxide and periodic mesoporous silica with vertically aligned mesochannels. Next phase of the study will seek to use this type of materials in molecular sieving sensors, filtrations, drug delivery system, and so forth.

Sandwich -Type Nanocomposite of Reduced Graphene Oxide and Periodic Mesoporous Silica with Vertically Aligned Mesochannels of Tunable Pore Depth and Size. Advances in Engineering

About the author

Geoffrey Ozin is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Toronto and Government of Canada Research Chair in Materials Chemistry and Nanochemistry. He is an Honorary Professor at The Royal Institution of Great Britain and University College London, External Advisor for the London Centre for Nanotechnology, Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Surface and Colloid Science, Global Chair at Bath University, and Guest Professor at the Center for Functional Nanostructures at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Professor Ozin is renowned for his work in defining, enabling and popularizing a chemical approach to nanomaterials for innovative nanotechnology in advanced materials and biomedical science. Currently he leads the Solar Fuels Team at the University of Toronto. His published works include Nanochemistry, A Chemical Approach to Nanomaterials (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2009) and Concepts in Nanochemistry (VCH-Wiley, 2009). In 2011, he received the Albert Einstein World Award of Science from the World Cultural Council, the Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry 2015 and most recently the World Technology Prize in Energy, 2016.

About the author

Dr. Zheng-Ming Wang now is a Chief Senior Research Scientist in Environmental Management Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan. He got his B Eng in environmental engineering at Tsinghua University, China, M Sc in chemistry, Specialist in physical chemistry, Doctor of Science degree (Ph.D.), Specialist in materials chemistry, at Chiba University, Japan.

Currently Dr. Zheng-Ming Wang is working in the fields of nanomaterials, especially, graphene and carbon-related nanomaterials, and their applications for adsorption, catalysis, and sensing of environmental hazardous substances. He received several honorary rewards in his research carrier such as reward from China-Japan Science and Technology Exchange Association (JCSTEA), encouraging reward from the Japan Society on Adsorption. He is a member of Materials Research Society, the Chemical Society of Japan, and other five academic societies and now is serving as a councilor member of the Japan Society on Adsorption and a regional councilor member of the Chemical Society of Japan


Wang, Z., Peng, W., Takenaka, Y., Yoshizawa, N., Kosuge, K., Wang, W., & Ozin, G. (2017). Sandwich-Type Nanocomposite of Reduced Graphene Oxide and Periodic Mesoporous Silica with Vertically Aligned Mesochannels of Tunable Pore Depth and SizeAdvanced Functional Materials, 27(47), 1704066


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