INT | Research Unit Kappes

Nano-Carbon Materials

Additionally funded by COST Action CA15107

During the course of the MultiComp cost action our members made connections across many participating countries, including international partner countries. The above map, produced by the COST Data and Impact Analysis Office demonstrates the large number connections made based directly upon participation in MultiComp events. COST Action CA15107

1.Graphene Materials

Nanocarbons display unique properties to innovate in practically all technological sectors and branches of industry. This cutting-edge use of nano-augmented composite materials has the potential to reduce environmental pollution, to conserve resources, to save energy, and generally, to improve the quality of our lives.

Author(s): Sharali Malik, Arkady V. Krasheninnikov, and Silvia Marchesan


Pure graphene in the form of few-layer graphene (FLG) – 1 to 6 layers – is biocompatible and non-cytotoxic. This makes FLG an ideal material to incorporate into dental polymers to increase their strength and durability. It is well known that graphene has high mechanical strength and has been shown to enhance the mechanical, physical and chemical properties of biomaterials.

Author(s): Sharali Malik, Felicite M. Ruddock, Adam H. Dowling, Kevin Byrne, Wolfgang Schmitt, Ivan Khalakhan, Yoshihiro Nemoto, Hongxuan Guo, Lok Kumar Shrestha, Katsuhiko Ariga, and Jonathan P. Hill


Few layer graphene (FLG) sheets consisting of fewer than 10 stacked layers have both outstanding electronic and mechanical properties. This collection of graphene edges has interesting electrical, magnetic and chemical properties. Our FLG flakes were thin enough for the observation of the Dirac point, similar to FLG flakes recently made by thermal exfoliation and, unlike the mechanical exfoliation method favored by physicists, are free of contamination from adhesive tapes or organic solvents. Although, at present, the flakes appear to fail at an order of magnitude lower than in other graphene devices there are a number of parameters to be optimized such as the graphene-on- electrode configuration rather than electrode-on-graphene.

Author(s): Sharali Malik, Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Rolf Erni, Katsuhiko Ariga, Ivan Khalakhan and Jonathan P. Hill

DOI: 10.1039/c0nr00248h 

2. Branched Carbon Nanotubes

Two well-known, long standing problems in the field of composite materials are: (a) inhomogeneous dispersion of the filler, which can lead to aggregation and (b) insufficient reinforcement arising from bonding interactions between the filler and the matrix. Dispersion and reinforcement issues could be addressed by using branched multiwalled carbon nanotubes (b-MWCNTs) as it is known that branched fibers can greatly enhance interfacial bonding and dispersability.

Author(s): Sharali Malik, Yoshihiro Nemoto, Hongxuan Guo, Katsuhiko Ariga, and Jonathan P. Hill


In order to realize the potential of b-MWCNTs, mass production techniques at reasonable costs are needed. One possibility is the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method which involves the decomposition of a hydrocarbon. This could be the basis of an industrially scalable process to manufacture b-MWNTs using a pumice catalyst.

Author(s): Sharali Malik


The locally defined growth of carbon nanofibers with lambda shape in an open flame process is demonstrated. Via the growth time, the geometry of the structures can be tailored to a Λ- or λ-type shape. Microchannel cantilever spotting and dip-pen nanolithography are utilized for the deposition of catalytic salt NiCl2 · 6H2O for locally controlled growth of lambda-shaped carbon nanofibers. Rigorous downscaling reveals a critical catalytic salt volume of 0.033 μm³, resulting in exactly one lambda-shaped carbon nanofiber at a highly predefined position. An empirical model explains the observed growth process.

Author(s): Christian Lutz, Uwe Bog, Tobias Loritz, Julia Syurik, Sharali Malik, Chethala Neelakandhan Shyam Kumar, Christian Kübel, Michael Bruns, Christian Greiner, Michael Hirtz, Hendrik Hölscher


Carbon nanofibers (CNFs), in particular branched ones, raise great interest because of their potential in nano electronics, catalyst support and applicability as dry adhesives. The cλCNFs consist of two coiled feet CNFs anchored to the substrate and a non-coiled head CNF. The number of twists in the helical structure of the feet CNFs is always of same number and in opposite direction of rotation for a given cλCNF. The growth position of the cλCNFs on a substrate can be controlled by targeted deposition of nickel salt via an atomic force microscopy cantilever. Extensive characterization of the cλCNFs has enabled us to understand the growth process and to develop a model explaining the observed features of the structures.

Author(s): Christian Lutz, Uwe Bog, Richard Thelen, Julia Syurik, Sharali Malik, Christian Greiner, Hendrik Hölscher, Michael Hirtz

3.Hybrid Materials

The heterometallic Zn2Dy2 entity bearing partially saturated metal centres covalently decorates a highly ordered amyloid fibril core and the functionalised assembly exhibits catalytic Lewis acid behaviour.

Author(s): Stavroula I. Sampani, Youssra K. Al-Hilaly, Sharali Malik, Louise C. Serpell, and George E. Kostakis

Magnetite (Fe3O4) in the form of lodestone is the original magnetic material used by mankind to navigate the Earth by following geomagnetic field lines. It is also used for navigation in Nature by honey bees, homing pigeons and bacteria. Electron microscopy of anionic surfactant-directed synthesis of magnetite nanoparticles which appear to have biogenic signatures and could give insights into how the nano-magnetite particles form in biological systems, and how they are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Mesoporous magnetite nanoparticles shown here also have potential use in targeted drug delivery.

Author(s): Sharali Malik, Ian J. Hewitt, and Annie K. Powell


Manganese oxides with different oxidation states of manganese have applications in many different fields such as catalysis, lithium ion batteries, molecular sieves, and water treatment. Many efforts have been made to obtain different kinds of morphologies of manganese oxides and their properties have been investigated in the context of the above-mentioned purposes. Most of the methods employed have followed hydrothermal synthesis starting from different manganese salts. Manganese coordination compounds have rarely been used to prepare manganese oxides. In some cases unstable manganese complexes resulted in the formation of manganese oxides after decomposition. Being most versatile, MnO2 has been investigated in more detail than other oxides. However, Mn2O3 is also known to display different kinds of catalytic activity and also pseudo-capacitance, but it has been rather less investigated. Herein we report a new way of preparing porous Mn2O3,

Author(s): Sanjit Nayak, Sharali Malik, Sylvio Indris, Jan Reedijk, and Annie K. Powell

Suspensions of DNA–SWNT composites have been prepared as part of an ongoing study of individualized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) using chemically modified or unmodified single-stranded DNA as the surfactant. We report optical absorption, photoluminescence (PL) and Raman spectra which are used to distinguish the types of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) present in the suspensions. Pyrenyl groups appended to the DNA affect the appearance of absorption and photoluminescence spectra. Furthermore, TEM has been used to characterize DNA–SWNT composites deposited on grids and flushed with a volatile aqueous buffer. Electron micrographs provide preliminary evidence for helical wrapping of single strand DNA (ssDNA) around individual CNTs and thin ropes of CNTs.


Sharali Malik, Stephanie Vogel, Harald Rösner, Katharina Arnold, Frank Hennrich,

Anne-Kathrin Köhler, Clemens Richert, Manfred M. Kappes

An exceptional hybrid organic–inorganic coordination assembly with an extended 3D structure that contains vast separated organic and inorganic regions has been prepared. This hybrid was used as a template in thermolysis reactions to yield nano‐ and micro-sized products whose properties are determined by those of the precursor compounds.

Author(s): Wolfgang Schmitt, Jonathan P. Hill, Sharali Malik, Cynthia A. Volkert, Izumi Ichinose, Christopher E. Anson, and Annie K. Powell