Covalent modification of carbon materials using enzymes

Principal Investigator: Dr Aleksandra Mitrovic, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Belgrade

The graphene consists of carbon atoms, which are covalently connected to each other to form a crystalline grid in the form of honeycomb. The thin leaves of this material are connected in the crystal grid, making the graphene the thinnest, and at the same time the strongest material (200 times stronger than steel), which equally well works both with electricity and heat. Functionalization of graphene is a promising approach in controlled engineering, in order to improve its processability. The strategy for the covalent derivatization of graphene implies harsh chemical conditions, which ultimately do not provide a high degree of functionality.

The idea of this project is to make the covalent modification of the graphene by using the appropriate enzymes. Enzymes such as phenol oxidases, laccases, reductase, will be incubated with graphene that is previously suspended in appropriate solvent. In this way, C-O bond will be created in a very mild condition, first along the edges of the graphite layers (sheets). The application of enzymes in the process of covalent graphene modification would allow obtaining derivatives in a fast and environmentally acceptable way.

The project is part of the program "Explore Change, Start up for science", implemented by the Leadership Development Center, with the financial support of Philip Morris.


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