MAR 10, 2020 6:02 AM PDT

(Stop) Putting Crap into Graphene Research

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

The Czech researchers used guano as their study material (Pixabay)

In a recently published study, a group of Czech researchers from the University of Chemistry and Technology (Prague, Czech Republic) puts together two materials that are unlikely to appear in the same sentence: guano (bird feces) and graphene. Using this rather unorthodoxy pairing, the authors sent out a note of caution to others in the field of material science: stop conducting uninspiring research on graphene for the sake of publishing papers.

Graphene is long considered a wonder material that possesses numerous extraordinary properties. It is tough, and has excellent heat and electron conductivity; it can be levitated in a magnetic field due to its diamagnetic nature; and unlike other allotropes, every single carbon atom in graphene's lattice is available for chemical reaction on either side of the plain.

However, a recent trend in investigating the electrocatalytic property of graphene had the Czech researchers worried. A quick google search can easily turn up over 50 pieces of research literature on the electrocatalytic activity of graphene in 2019 alone. 

In many of these studies, graphene is doped with chemicals that contain elements such as nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and boron. (Here doping means the deliberate introduction of impurities into a semiconductor to modify its properties.) Many groups have claimed that their unique doping strategy or materials can enhance the electrocatalytic effect of graphene. It seems that it doesn't matter what kind of materials people use, even if one were to place feces on top of graphene, they could always observe an improved effect of electrocatalysis.

Therefore, the Czech group came up with an idea to challenge this line of thinking. Their parody-styled experiments showed the exact results as they anticipated: the bird dropping-doped graphenes demonstrated better electrocatalytic than the non-doped counterpart in chemical reactions such as oxygen reduction and hydrogen evolution.

In this end, the authors of this satirical research article don't wish others to follow suit or to consider guano as a miracle addictive to material research. Their point is that graphene researchers should stop this current obsession of electrocatalytic quality of graphene. Instead they should spend their money and efforts on meaning investigations.

Source: ACS Nano

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
SEP 03, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Designing the most effective - and comfortable- face mask yet
SEP 03, 2020
Designing the most effective - and comfortable- face mask yet
Engineers from Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a facemask that is comfortable, safe, and – best of a ...
SEP 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Colorimetric sensor detects presence of airborne pathogens
SEP 12, 2020
Colorimetric sensor detects presence of airborne pathogens
The development of a novel colorimetric sensor may bring some mental relief to your COVID-19 anxieties. According to the ...
SEP 18, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Molecule take images of itself with its own electrons
SEP 18, 2020
Molecule take images of itself with its own electrons
A new study published in Physical Review Letters highlights the development of an approach to observe time-dependent cha ...
OCT 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The CRISPR Nobel Win from Different Angles
OCT 14, 2020
The CRISPR Nobel Win from Different Angles
CRISPR-Cas9 was THE buzz word in the world of science after the Nobel Chemistry Prize announcement last week. But depend ...
OCT 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Improving optical fiber data transmission with silica glass made under high pressures
OCT 22, 2020
Improving optical fiber data transmission with silica glass made under high pressures
Researchers collaborating from Hokkaido University and The Pennsylvania State University show that producing silica glas ...
NOV 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
NOV 24, 2020
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
The ongoing worldwide pandemic places the mental health of many communities on red alert. But there may be a remedy to e ...
Loading Comments...