Daniel F. Sava

Abstracts

1 Synthesis and Characterization of Graphene Composites with Application for Sustainable Energy

Authors: Bogdan S. Vasile, Ecaterina Andronescu, Daniel F. Sava, Anton Ficai, Georgeta Voicu

Abstract:

The energy crisis and environmental contamination are very serious problems, therefore searching for better and sustainable renewable energy is a must. It is predicted that the global energy demand will double until 2050. Solar water splitting and photocatalysis are considered as one of the solutions to these issues. The use of oxide semiconductors for solar water splitting and photocatalysis started in 1972 with the experiments of Fujishima and Honda on TiO2 electrodes. Since then, the evolution of nanoscience and characterization methods leads to a better control of size, shape and properties of materials. Although the past decade advancements are astonishing, for these applications the properties have to be controlled at a much finer level, allowing the control of charge-carrier lives, energy level positions, charge trapping centers, etc. Graphene has attracted a lot of attention, since its discovery in 2004, due to the excellent electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties that it possesses. These properties make it an ideal support for photocatalysts, thus graphene composites with oxide semiconductors are of great interest. We present in this work the synthesis and characterization of graphene-related materials and oxide semiconductors and their different composites. These materials can be used in constructing devices for different applications (batteries, water splitting devices, solar cells, etc), thus showing their application flexibility. The synthesized materials are different morphologies and sizes of TiO2, ZnO and Fe2O3 that are obtained through hydrothermal, sol-gel methods and graphene oxide which is synthesized through a modified Hummer method and reduced with different agents. Graphene oxide and the reduced form could also be used as a single material for transparent conductive films. The obtained single materials and composites were characterized through several methods: XRD, SEM, TEM, IR spectroscopy, RAMAN, XPS and BET adsorption/desorption isotherms. From the results, we see the variation of the properties with the variation of synthesis parameters, size and morphology of the particles.

Keywords: Renewable Energy, Composites, Graphene, Hydrothermal

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