Soft Carbon Sheets: Some New Insights into an Old Material
Jiaxing Huang is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. He received his B.S. degree in Chemical Physics from USTC, Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCLA, and became a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley before joining Northwestern in 2007. In research, his group uses chemical principles and tools to discover new materials, advance materials processing, and make materials innovations for better living. Some recent examples include carbon based nanomaterials, clay minerals, and novel colloidal particles for energy storage, water treatments and even safer cosmetics. Through teaching, they aim to develop intuition, inspire creativity and bring the best out of students and themselves. His work has been recognized by awards from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Vacuum Society, and the International Aerosol Research Assembly. He is also a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the JSPS Fellowship from Japan and the Humboldt Research Award from Germany.
Graphene oxide (GO) sheets are made by chemical exfoliation of graphite using century-old chemical reactions. Interest in this old material has resurged with the rapid development of graphene since 2004, as GO has been considered to be a promising precursor for bulk production of graphene. However, GO itself is a very interesting material in its own right. I will share a few curiosity-driven discoveries about GO, leading to new hypotheses and new applications of graphene-based materials. These include the discovery of GO’s amphiphilicity, its use to construct 2D nanofluidic channels, the development of aggregation-resistant crumpled graphene balls, and a new form of play-dough like GO in water without any additives.