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The mission of the Graphene Labs at the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is to develop a new class of smart materials based on graphene and other 2D layered materials.

 

Production methods range from wafer-scale 2D layers obtained by CVD and SiC sublimation methods, to chemically functionalized inks produced by liquid phase exfoliation. Through the development of key demonstrators we want to establish a new set of potential applications in the energy, composites, optoelectronics and biotechnology sectors. The Graphene Labs strategic plan is developed within the European flagship Graphene effort (2013-2023) (http://www.graphene-flagship.eu).

Strong emphasis is given to Technology Transfer and Dissemination. In this context the IIT Graphene Labs aim at being a shared facility for the Italian manufacturing firms interested in incorporating graphene and other two-dimensional crystals into existing composites and products. A pilot production plant of 2D crystals inks and powders is available for these activities.

Activities

We target the development of device concepts based on ultra-high quality encapsulated graphene systems, the exploratory studies of 2D crystals and the prototype of van der Waals materials composed of graphene and other 2D crystals.

More specifically we model interaction between hBN phonons and graphene electrons, and phonons impact on transport and hot carriers relaxation properties, nonharmonic properties of graphene, effects of lattice non-harmonicity on electronic properties. We study theoretically the competition between various phases in doped 2D materials: charge-density wave states, Mott insulator state, ferromagnetic, antiferromagnetic, or superconducting. Finally, we study – experimentally and theoretically – thermal transport and thermoelectric properties of stacks of various 2D materials, both produced by transfer and exfoliated into multi-component laminates.

People

Main Publications

We are capable to grow 2D materials using complementary techniques. We focus on CVD growth and characterization of graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) not synthesized up to date, measuring photoresponsivity and testing on (opto) electronic devices. We also synthesize and characterize Gr/h-BN complex heterostructures. Finally we fabricate vertical heterostructures of at least two different TMDs or TMD/Graphene materials controlling thickness and homogeneity.

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

  • F. Bianco et al THz saturable absorption in turbostratic multilayer graphene on silicon carbide. Opt Express 23, 11632-40 (2015)
  • V. Miseikis et al Rapid CVD growth of millimetre-sized single crystal graphene using a cold-wall reactor. 2D Mater. 2, 014006 (2015)
  • N. Mishra et al Rapid and catalyst-free van der Waals epitaxy of graphene on hexagonal boron nitride. Carbon 96, 497-502 (2016)

We study the impact of graphene-related materials (GRMs) in vitro on lung, skin, gastric and renal barriers as well as the impact on neuronal cells and tissues. We also exploit the conductive properties of graphene in 2D neural interfaces and study the physiology of neuronal cells and biological barriers challenged with GRMs. Finally we evaluate metabolomics and proteomics of graphene interactions with biological systems.

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

  • P. Wick et al Classification framework for graphene-based materials. Angew. Chem. Int.  53, 7714-7718 (2014)
  • M. Bramini et al, Graphene oxide nanosheets disrupt lipid composition, Ca2+ homeostasis and synaptic transmission in primary cortical neurons. ACS Nano 10 (7), 7154-7171 (2016)

We develop and exploit technologies for electrical stimulating devices for retinal implants and devices for in vitro functional characterization of retinal, cortical, deep-structure of central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). More specifically we prepare and electrochemically assess multi-layered devices for neural activity modulation on silk or PET substrates composed of an ink-jetted graphene conductive film and photosensitive conjugated polymers with different spectral absorbance. We also ensure the capability for the assessment of the developed devices to register biological activity in in vitro cell cultures.

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

We aim at exploiting graphene-related materials (GRMs) in nano-photonics and THz photonics as well as enhancing expertise in GRMs theory. More specifically we work on waveguide-integrated photodetectors (PDs) for the silicon-on-insulator platform, on ultra-sensitive PDs for low-intensity or single-photon detection, on flexible photodetectors, on resonant gate-controlled third harmonic generation and four-wave-mixing, on graphene protected copper and silver plasmonics, on on-chip electrical detection of intrinsic graphene plasmons, on graphene plasmonic arrays for mid-IR photodetection and mid-IR sensing as well as on resonant excitation of plasma waves in THz FETs.

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

  • F. Bianco et al Terahertz detection by epitaxial-graphene field-effect-transistors on silicon carbide. Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 131104 (2015)
  • F. Di Stasio et al Single-mode lasing from colloidal water-soluble CdSe/CdS quantum dot-in-rods. Small 11, 1328-1334 (2015)
  • D. Spirito et al UV Light detection from CdS nanocrystal sensitized graphene photodetectors at kHz frequencies. J. Phys. Chem. C 119, 23859-23864 (2015)
  • I. Torre et al Electrical plasmon detection in graphene wave guides. Phys. Rev. B 91, 081402 (2015)
  • S. Zanotto et al Magneto-optic transmittance modulation observed in a hybrid graphene–split ring resonator terahertz metasurface. Appl. Phys. Lett107, 121104 (2015)

We develop inorganic colloidal Quantum Dots (QDs) and Dye sensitized/Perovskite solar cells. More specifically, on the basis of various material combinations – such as nanocrystals grafted on 2D transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC) flakes and nanocrystal/2D TMDC or graphene flakes composite absorber – we target a cell power conversion efficiency (PCE) >7% and we initiate preliminary printability tests with these absorber material inks to build an operational solar cell. We also investigate the possibility to build disruptive biomimetic dye solar cells based on natural pigments extracted from fruits, flowers, as new ecological sensitizers in Dye sensitized solar cells.

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

  • J. Q. Grim et al A sustainable future for photonic colloidal nanocrystals. Chem. Soc. Rev. 44, 5897-5914 (2015)
  • B. Martin-Garcia et al Efficient charge transfer in solution-processed PbS quantum dot–reduced graphene oxide hybrid materials. J. Mater. Chem. C 3, 7088-7095 (2015)
  • E. Quesnel et al Graphene-based technologies for energy applications, challenges and perspectives. 2D Mater. 2, 030204 (2015)

We develop supercapacitors, batteries and gas storage systems based on graphene and other 2D crystals. More specifically, we produce graphene based electrode materials and pseudocapacitive materials (2D crystals such as MXene, VOPO4, MoS2, WSe2, TiO2 and MnO2) for supercapacitors, we generate flexible supercapacitor devices and we collaborate at the development of a pilot line for spray-deposited supercapacitors. We also develop materials for Li-ion/Na-ion batteries and develop full cell and conformable and transparent batteries based on graphene and we evaluate the electrochemical activity of model graphene systems. Finally we design porous 3D architectures with high surface area for gas storage, we synthetize rigid spacers and 3D assembly of graphene inks and ensure adsorption measurements.

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

  • J. Bartelmess et al Boron dipyrromethene (BODIPY) Functionalized Carbon Nano-Onions for High Resolution Cellular Imaging. Nanoscale 6, 13761-13769 (2014)
  • J. Bartelmess et al Carbon Nanomaterials: Multi-Functional Agents for Biomedical Fluorescence and Raman Imaging. Chem. Soc. Rev. 444672-4698 (2015)
  • M. Frasconi et al Multi-Functionalized Carbon Nano-onions as Imaging Probes for Cancer Cells. Chem. Eur J. 21, 19071-19080 (2015)

We develop and optimize ways to process graphene in composites. More specifically, we study the electrical percolation of 2D materials in 3D composites by analyzing the relationship between the morphological properties (i.e., lateral size and thickness) of the nanoflakes and their mechanical and electrical properties on the macroscopic scale in graphene-related materials (GRMs) composites. We also proceed to tensile test of single layers of graphene in order to better understand the mechanical strength of the individual flakes used for reinforcement. Finally, we demonstrate GRM-polymer composites as gas barriers. Some of these activities are carried out in collaboration with private companies (see  Technology transfer).

People

Internal Collaborations

Main Publications

Laboratories

The central facilities of the Graphene Labs focus on 2D crystals processing and prototyping and on their use for the realization of energy devices. They are equipped with state of the art systems for the production of the 2D crystal-based inks: ultrasonicators, wet jet mill systems, homogenizers, ultracentrifuges; their characterization: µ-Raman scattering/TERS, XPS, cyclic voltammetry, impedance spectroscopy, contact angle, rheometer; and for deposition/coating: ink-jet, flexogravure and screen printers, spray and spin coaters and for the production of compounds: twin screw extrusion line (spring 2016). Additional laboratories and facilities are shared with the principal investigators of IIT collaborating with the Graphene Labs (see Activities).

Projects

  • FP7 Collaborative Project FLAGSHIP GRAPHENE (contract n. 604391)
    Graphene-Based Revolutions in ICT And Beyond
    Person in charge for IIT: V. Pellegrini. IIT contribution: € 497.724. Project start: October 1st 2013. End: March 31st 2016

Collaborations

We have several collaboration both within and outside the graphene flagship network including those with groups at Manchester University (UK), Cambridge University (UK), Italian National Research Council, Trinity College Dublin, Columbia University in New York, National University of Singapore, Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy).

 

Technology Transfer is part of the mission of IIT since its very beginning

"The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia promotes excellence in fundamental and applied research, develops higher education in the area of science and technology and fosters the evolution of industry towards the forefront areas of technological innovation."

In practice, this mission is implemented through:

  • Feasibility studies and applied technology project developed together with industry players
  • Joint Labs between IIT and Corporations/Firms
  • Licensing of IIT technologies, based on know-how or patented technologies
  • Creation of technology-based spin-off companies

For more information about Technology Transfer in IIT, also check [link TT]

In this context the IIT Graphene Labs aim at being a shared facility for the Italian manufacturing firms interested in incorporating graphene and other two-dimensional crystals into existing composites and products. The IIT Graphene Labs work in cooperation with IIT Smart Materials group and in close collaboration with many companies to develop and test new solutions for the market. We have agreement with many companies for applications in different sectors ranging from photovoltaics and illumination to body protection, low-voltage copper cables, carbon fibers and composites.

In order to reach this goal, a project has started in 2014, which recently led to the creation of a start up company: Bedimensional

People

Collaborations

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