Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento (IST-ID)

  • Miguel García G... profile
    Miguel García G...
    26 July 2019 - updated 1 year ago
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Who is the woman leading this innovation?

Elena Tatarova is leading this innovation. She is Researcher at Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento (IST-ID)

About the innovator

Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN, Institute for Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion) is a research unit of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) with the status of Associated Laboratory granted by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.  The role of the research unit at national and international level was recognized in the last FCT evaluation of R&D units, where IPFN was awarded the classification “Excellent”. The research team of the Plasma Engineering Laboratory (PEL) at IPFN has make significant contribution to new cutting-edge field of Plasma Nanoscience through a challenging work program that includes the development of new innovative plasma-based methods and technologies for 2D materials synthesis.  Microwave-driven plasmas were successfully applied for the first time by the PEL research team in the selective, single-step, synthesis-by-design, of high-quality graphene/N-graphene (nitrogen-doped graphene) free-standing sheets and N-graphene/metal oxides nanocomposites at high-yield and at atmospheric pressure conditions. The unique plasma ability to control the amount and localization of energy and matter delivered from the plasma bulk to the developing nano-structures is the key that researchers at PEL apply to implement synthesis-by-design, at atomic scale level. The obtained results provide substantial evidence that microwave plasma-based technologies are a disruptive alternative route for the production of high-quality graphene and its derivative N-graphene with controlled morphologies and structural qualities and at high yields.

What is the innovation

Within the PEGASUS project a disruptive technology to produce graphene/N-graphene and derivatives was developed. This newly developed key-enabling-technology provides a fast, single-step, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method for selective synthesis of tailored graphene/N-graphene sheets at high yield and at atmospheric ambient. Enables large scale conversion of cheap carbon-based precursors (such as biomass, bioethanol, greenhouse gases CH4. CO2. etc.) into high-valued, high-quality graphene derivatives with tailored properties. The main advantage of used approach is the achievement of a very high and extremely controllable energy density in the plasma reactor, which allows effective control over the energy and material fluxes towards growing nanostructures at the atomic scale via proper reactor design and tailoring of the plasma environment in a synergistic way.  The end-result is a high-quality product, obtained in a reproducible manner with the desired morphological, structural and functional properties. Few mg per minute N-graphene sheets with controllable doping level (as high as 8 at % N) and less than 1% of oxygen content are produced by this novel technology and the estimated cost for 1 gr is about 160 €, much less than the prices of high-quality products available in the market (about 1200 euros per gram).

Out of the lab. Into the market

To capitalize on our novel plasma technology, several patent applications have been filed covering different implementations of the innovation. Recently 3 pending patents were filed. The main exploitation strategy consists of licensing patent portfolio of a machine for a large-scale synthesis of N-graphene and N-graphene/metal oxides nanocomposites for applications that encompass supercapacitors, sensors, materials with low secondary electron yield, metamaterials etc.  The building of a microwave plasma-based machine for a large-scale N-graphene production with high level of customization is in progress to demonstrate a two-orders of magnitude scale-up of the fabrication process. The team has participated in several entrepreneurship programmes to develop a business plan and exploitation strategy aiming at introducing our solution on the market answering to the increase demand of high-quality graphene and derivatives.

Benefits of participation in Horizon 2020

Thanks to the PEGASUS project, we have been able to extend 2D materials expertise towards a wider set of key-enabling technologies, namely advanced materials with higher performance, nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing. PEGASUS also enabled the development of new applications leveraging the unique properties of our high-quality graphene/N-graphene.  Furthermore, since PEGASUS is a young researchers project with a lot of work being led by young researchers, it contributes to our researchers’ independence and as such to the EC’s broader goal of empowering the next generation of European science and technology leaders.

This innovation was funded via H2020 project PEGASUS. Follow PEGASUS on Twitter.

Team behind the innovation