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Special Issue "Glassy Carbon: Microstructure, Properties and Applications"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Swati Sharma

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: carbon MEMS and NEMS; magnetic carbon; carbon-based flexible electronics/sensors; 3D carbon scaffolds; NMR compatible bioreactor; pyrolysis of waste materials for obtaining biofuels and useable carbons

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will focus on the microstructure, properties and applications of glassy carbon; a graphene-rich form of elemental carbon obtained from pyrolysis of polymers. Glassy carbon is an isotropic, low-density material that exhibits excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, wide electrochemical stability window, superior mechanical strength, corrosion resistance, cytocompatibility and impermeability to most gases and liquids.

Conventionally manufactured in bulk, this material has gained considerable popularity among microsystem engineers in the past two decades, owing to the advances in lithographic techniques capable of patterning carbonizable photoresists. In addition to stimulating extensive research on various chip-based micro/nano devices, this revived interest in glassy carbon also created a compelling need for a thorough understanding of its structure-property relationship at the nano-scale. Recognition of the fact that glassy carbon offers a pre-patterned, synthesis-free, percolated graphene network without needing any additional binders, led to an impressive increase in the volume of publications on a variety of miniaturized glassy carbon devices such as battery and supercapacitor anodes, interdigitated electrode arrays, chemi/biosensors and cell culture substrates. In parallel, the two widely accepted microstructural models of glassy carbon describing it to be composed of either interconnected ribbon-like, or of fullerene-like structures were frequently revisited. Unfortunately, most of these publications are scattered in a range of journals on generalized topics and there are extremely few dedicated collections that can be accessed by a glassy carbon focus group. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this work, occasional dissimilarities in the nomenclature and method description are also observed.

The motivation behind this Special Issue is to facilitate a common platform to material scientists and microsystem engineers working on different aspects of glassy carbon, which allows for a rapid and active exchange of the outcome of their work. Manuscripts detailing theoretical/experimental work on all open questions regarding glassy carbon’s microstructure, as well as on new application areas and fabrication techniques, unexplored carbonizable polymers and pyrolysis tuning can be submitted in the form of short communications, research articles or reviews. It is however noteworthy that at least one keyword of the paper should be glassy carbon or pyrolysis. This will exclude submissions on carbon-based devices that are not composed of glassy carbon (for example, synthetic graphene or carbon nanotube based devices). Other keywords can be practically anything pertaining to the reported work.

Papers submitted to this Special Issue will be subject to a peer-review procedure for constructive criticism with the aim of rapid publication and wide dissemination of the contents.

Dr. Swati Sharma
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Glassy carbon
  • pyrolysis
  • carbon-MEMS/ NEMS
  • glassy carbon anode
  • interdigitated electrode array
  • biosensor
  • chemical sensor
  • transmission electron microscopy (of glassy carbon)
  • crystallinity
  • microstructure
  • carbonizable resist
  • photopatterning

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Polymer-to-Carbon Conversion: From Nature to Technology
Materials 2019, 12(5), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12050774
Received: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
PDF Full-text (156 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glassy carbon is derived from synthetic organic polymers that undergo the process of coking during their pyrolysis. Polymer-to-carbon conversion (hereafter referred to as PolyCar) also takes place in nature, and is indeed responsible for the formation of various naturally occurring carbon allotropes. In [...] Read more.
Glassy carbon is derived from synthetic organic polymers that undergo the process of coking during their pyrolysis. Polymer-to-carbon conversion (hereafter referred to as PolyCar) also takes place in nature, and is indeed responsible for the formation of various naturally occurring carbon allotropes. In the last few decades the PolyCar concept has been utilized in technological applications, i.e., specific polymers are patterned into the desired shapes and intentionally converted into carbon by a controlled heat-treatment. Device fabrication using glassy carbon is an excellent example of the use of the PolyCar process in technology, which has rapidly progressed from conventional to micro- and nanomanufacturing. While the technique itself is simple, one must have a good understanding of the carbonization mechanism of the polymer, which in turn determines whether or not the resulting material will be glassy carbon. Publications that comprise this special issue shed light on several aspects of the formation, properties and performance of glassy carbon in the cutting-edge technological applications. The results of detailed material characterization pertaining to two important research areas, namely neural electrodes and precision glass molding, are presented as examples. I hope that the readers will enjoy as well as benefit from this collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glassy Carbon: Microstructure, Properties and Applications)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Influence of Glassy Carbon Surface Finishing on Its Wear Behavior during Precision Glass Moulding of Fused Silica
Materials 2019, 12(5), 692; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12050692
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (13017 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Laser technology has a rising demand for high precision Fused Silica components. Precision Glass Moulding (PGM) is a technology that can fulfil the given demands in efficiency and scalability. Due to the elevated process temperatures of almost 1400 °C and the high mechanical [...] Read more.
Laser technology has a rising demand for high precision Fused Silica components. Precision Glass Moulding (PGM) is a technology that can fulfil the given demands in efficiency and scalability. Due to the elevated process temperatures of almost 1400 °C and the high mechanical load, Glassy Carbon was qualified as an appropriate forming tool material for the moulding of Fused Silica. Former studies revealed that the tools’ surface finishing has an important influence on wear behaviour. This paper deals with investigation and analysis of surface preparation processes of Glassy Carbon moulds. In order to fulfil standards for high precision optics, the finishing results will be characterised by sophisticated surface description parameters used in the optics industry. Later on, the mould performance, in terms of wear resistance, is tested in extended moulding experiments. Correlations between the surface finish of the Glassy Carbon tools and their service lifetime are traced back to fundamental physical circumstances and conclusions for an optimal surface treatment are drawn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glassy Carbon: Microstructure, Properties and Applications)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Glassy Carbon Electrocorticography Electrodes on Ultra-Thin and Finger-Like Polyimide Substrate: Performance Evaluation Based on Different Electrode Diameters
Materials 2018, 11(12), 2486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11122486
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3836 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Glassy carbon (GC) has high potential to serve as a biomaterial in neural applications because it is biocompatible, electrochemically inert and can be incorporated in polyimide-based implantable devices. Miniaturization and applicability of GC is, however, thought to be partially limited by its electrical [...] Read more.
Glassy carbon (GC) has high potential to serve as a biomaterial in neural applications because it is biocompatible, electrochemically inert and can be incorporated in polyimide-based implantable devices. Miniaturization and applicability of GC is, however, thought to be partially limited by its electrical conductivity. For this study, ultra-conformable polyimide-based electrocorticography (ECoG) devices with different-diameter GC electrodes were fabricated and tested in vitro and in rat models. For achieving conformability to the rat brain, polyimide was patterned in a finger-like shape and its thickness was set to 8 µm. To investigate different electrode sizes, each ECoG device was assigned electrodes with diameters of 50, 100, 200 and 300 µm. They were electrochemically characterized and subjected to 10 million biphasic pulses—for achieving a steady-state—and to X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, for examining their elemental composition. The electrodes were then implanted epidurally to evaluate the ability of each diameter to detect neural activity. Results show that their performance at low frequencies (up to 300 Hz) depends on the distance from the signal source rather than on the electrode diameter, while at high frequencies (above 200 Hz) small electrodes have higher background noises than large ones, unless they are coated with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glassy Carbon: Microstructure, Properties and Applications)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessReview Glassy Carbon: A Promising Material for Micro- and Nanomanufacturing
Materials 2018, 11(10), 1857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11101857
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When certain polymers are heat-treated beyond their degradation temperature in the absence of oxygen, they pass through a semi-solid phase, followed by the loss of heteroatoms and the formation of a solid carbon material composed of a three-dimensional graphenic network, known as glassy [...] Read more.
When certain polymers are heat-treated beyond their degradation temperature in the absence of oxygen, they pass through a semi-solid phase, followed by the loss of heteroatoms and the formation of a solid carbon material composed of a three-dimensional graphenic network, known as glassy (or glass-like) carbon. The thermochemical decomposition of polymers, or generally of any organic material, is defined as pyrolysis. Glassy carbon is used in various large-scale industrial applications and has proven its versatility in miniaturized devices. In this article, micro and nano-scale glassy carbon devices manufactured by (i) pyrolysis of specialized pre-patterned polymers and (ii) direct machining or etching of glassy carbon, with their respective applications, are reviewed. The prospects of the use of glassy carbon in the next-generation devices based on the material’s history and development, distinct features compared to other elemental carbon forms, and some large-scale processes that paved the way to the state-of-the-art, are evaluated. Selected support techniques such as the methods used for surface modification, and major characterization tools are briefly discussed. Barring historical aspects, this review mainly covers the advances in glassy carbon device research from the last five years (2013–2018). The goal is to provide a common platform to carbon material scientists, micro/nanomanufacturing experts, and microsystem engineers to stimulate glassy carbon device research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glassy Carbon: Microstructure, Properties and Applications)
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