Application of Carbon-Based Nanostructures and Nanocomposites for Sustainable Development

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Nanoscience and Nanotechnology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 27691

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi (CNR-IMM), Catania, Italy
Interests: synthesis and characterization of carbon-based and metal oxide nanostructures; nanomaterials and nanocomposites for sensing; water purification; water splitting applications; surface characterization; photocatalytic processes
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A better and more sustainable future requires the urgent tackling of numerous global challenges, in particular, those related to climate change, energy, environmental degradation, and good health/wellbeing. All of these themes fall within the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are part of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.

In recent years, nanotechnology has emerged as a versatile platform for developing new solutions to global sustainability issues. Nanomaterials and, in particular, carbon-based nanomaterials, possess peculiar physicochemical properties as well as large and active surface areas that allow their use as functional materials for the removal of contaminants from air and water, the production of renewable energy (clean water, clean air and clean energy), and for addressing health issues (from diagnostics to therapy).

This Special Issue is devoted to the synthesis, characterization, and applications of carbon-based nanomaterials and nanocomposites (e.g., C nanostructures/polymers, C nanostructures/metal oxides, etc.) with specific focus on the following fields:

  • Environment (pollution prevention, pollution removal, environmental remediation, water treatment, desalination, environmental sensing);
  • Energy (energy storage and conversion, water splitting);
  • Health and wellbeing (from diagnostics to therapy).

Full research papers, communications, and reviews are all welcome.

Dr. Silvia Scalese
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • carbon nanostructures
  • nanocomposites
  • synthesis and characterization
  • surface functionalization
  • environmental sensing
  • environmental remediation
  • water and air purification
  • materials for water splitting
  • energy storage and conversion
  • health applications

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 5679 KiB  
Article
AZO Nanoparticles-Decorated CNTs for UV Light Sensing: A Structural, Chemical, and Electro-Optical Investigation
by Simona Filice, Stefano Boscarino, Mario Scuderi, Sebania Libertino, Clelia Galati, Antonio Terrasi and Silvia Scalese
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(1), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13010215 - 3 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
Nanocomposites formed by aluminum-doped zinc oxide nanoparticles (AZO–NP) and multiwall carbon nanotubes (CNT) are proposed here as a promising material for UV light sensing applications, with the great advantage of operating in air, at room temperature, and at low voltage. Nanocomposite layers were [...] Read more.
Nanocomposites formed by aluminum-doped zinc oxide nanoparticles (AZO–NP) and multiwall carbon nanotubes (CNT) are proposed here as a promising material for UV light sensing applications, with the great advantage of operating in air, at room temperature, and at low voltage. Nanocomposite layers were prepared with different AZO:CNT weight ratios by a simple methodology at room temperature. They were characterized by means of UV–Vis spectroscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopies (SEM and TEM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The interaction between the two nanomaterials was demonstrated by comparing the properties of the nanocomposite with the ones shown by the AZO–NPs. Dense AZO–CNT nanocomposite layers were deposited between two metal electrodes on a SiO2/Si substrate, and the electrical properties were investigated in dark condition and under UV light irradiation. The electrical response to the UV light was a sudden current increase that reduced when the light was switched off. Several UV on/off cycles were performed, showing good repeatability and stability of the response. The mechanisms involved in the electrical response are discussed and compared to the ones previously reported for ZnO–CNT nanocomposites. Full article
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13 pages, 7653 KiB  
Article
In-Situ SERS Detection of Hg2+/Cd2+ and Congo Red Adsorption Using Spiral CNTs/Brass Nails
by Mohamed Shaban
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(21), 3778; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12213778 - 26 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Brass spiral nails were functionalized with CoFe2O4 nanoparticles and utilized as a substrate for the growth of extremely long CNTs with helical structures and diameters smaller than 20 nm. Different methods were used to characterize the grown CNTs’ structures and [...] Read more.
Brass spiral nails were functionalized with CoFe2O4 nanoparticles and utilized as a substrate for the growth of extremely long CNTs with helical structures and diameters smaller than 20 nm. Different methods were used to characterize the grown CNTs’ structures and morphologies. The characteristic Raman peaks of CNTs were amplified four times after being uploaded on the spiral nail, making the substrates for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) more sensitive. To detect Hg2+ and Cd2+ at concentrations ranging from 1 to 1000 ppb, a CNT/spiral brass nail was used as a SERS substrate. The proposed sensor demonstrated high sensitivity and selectivity between these heavy metal ions. As a result, the proposed CNTs/spiral brass sensor can be an effective tool for identifying heavy metal ions in aqueous solutions. In addition, Congo red (CR) adsorption as a function of initial dye concentration and contact time was investigated. For CR dye solutions with concentrations of 5, 10, and 20 mg/L, respectively, the highest removal percentage was determined to be ~99.9%, 85%, and 77%. According to the kinetics investigation, the pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order models effectively handle CR adsorption onto CNTs/spiral nails. The increase in the dye concentration from 5 ppm to 20 ppm causes the rate constant to drop from 0.053 to 0.040 min−1. Therefore, our sample can be employed for both the effective degradation of CR dye from wastewater and the detection of heavy metals. Full article
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13 pages, 2253 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Photoluminescent Graphene Quantum Dots from Watermelon Rind Waste for the Detection of Ferric Ions and Cellular Bio-Imaging Applications
by Chatchai Rodwihok, Tran Van Tam, Won Mook Choi, Mayulee Suwannakaew, Sang Woon Woo, Duangmanee Wongratanaphisan and Han S. Kim
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(4), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12040702 - 20 Feb 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2840
Abstract
Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) were synthesized using watermelon rind waste as a photoluminescent (PL) agent for ferric ion (Fe3+) detection and in vitro cellular bio-imaging. A green and simple one-pot hydrothermal technique was employed to prepare the GQDs. Their crystalline [...] Read more.
Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) were synthesized using watermelon rind waste as a photoluminescent (PL) agent for ferric ion (Fe3+) detection and in vitro cellular bio-imaging. A green and simple one-pot hydrothermal technique was employed to prepare the GQDs. Their crystalline structures corresponded to the lattice fringe of graphene, possessing amide, hydroxyl, and carboxyl functional groups. The GQDs exhibited a relatively high quantum yield of approximately 37%. Prominent blue emission under UV excitation and highly selective PL quenching for Fe3+ were observed. Furthermore, Fe3+ could be detected at concentrations as low as 0.28 μM (limit of detection), allowing for high sensitivity toward Fe3+ detection in tap and drinking water samples. In the bio-imaging experiment, the GQDs exhibited a low cytotoxicity for the HeLa cells, and they were clearly illuminated at an excitation wavelength of 405 nm. These results can serve as the basis for developing an environment-friendly, simple, and cost-effective approach of using food waste by converting them into photoluminescent nanomaterials for the detection of metal ions in field water samples and biological cellular studies. Full article
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16 pages, 3661 KiB  
Article
An Electrochemical Sensor Based on a Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Material and PEI Composites for Sensitive Detection of 4-Nitrophenol
by Xue Nie, Peihong Deng, Haiyan Wang and Yougen Tang
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(1), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12010086 - 29 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1788
Abstract
A glassy carbon electrode (GCE) was modified with nitrogen-doped carbon materials (NC) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) composites to design an electrochemical sensor for detecting 4-nitrophenol (4-NP). The NC materials were prepared by a simple and economical method through the condensation and carbonization of formamide. [...] Read more.
A glassy carbon electrode (GCE) was modified with nitrogen-doped carbon materials (NC) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) composites to design an electrochemical sensor for detecting 4-nitrophenol (4-NP). The NC materials were prepared by a simple and economical method through the condensation and carbonization of formamide. The NC materials were dispersed in a polyethyleneimine (PEI) solution easily. Due to the excellent properties of NC and PEI as well as their synergistic effect, the electrochemical reduction of the 4-NP on the surface of the NC–PEI composite modified electrode was effectively enhanced. Under the optimized conditions, at 0.06–10 μM and 10–100 μM concentration ranges, the NC–PEI/GCE sensor shows a linear response to 4-NP, and the detection limit is 0.01 μM (the signal-to-noise ratio is three). The reliability of the sensor for the detection of 4-NP in environmental water samples was successfully evaluated. In addition, the sensor has many advantages, including simple preparation, fast response, high sensitivity and good repeatability. It may be helpful for potential applications in detecting other targets. Full article
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20 pages, 3742 KiB  
Article
Fabrication of ZnO/CNTs for Application in CO2 Sensor at Room Temperature
by Rana Saad, Ahmed Gamal, Mohamed Zayed, Ashour M. Ahmed, Mohamed Shaban, Mohammad BinSabt, Mohamed Rabia and Hany Hamdy
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3087; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11113087 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 3017
Abstract
Thin films of ZnO and ZnO/carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are prepared and used as CO2 gas sensors. The spray pyrolysis method was used to prepare both ZnO and ZnO/CNTs films, with CNTs first prepared using the chemical vapor deposition method (CVD). The chemical [...] Read more.
Thin films of ZnO and ZnO/carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are prepared and used as CO2 gas sensors. The spray pyrolysis method was used to prepare both ZnO and ZnO/CNTs films, with CNTs first prepared using the chemical vapor deposition method (CVD). The chemical structure and optical analyses for all the prepared nanomaterials were performed using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transformer infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and UV/Vis spectrophotometer devices, respectively. According to the XRD analysis, the crystal sizes of ZnO and ZnO/CNTs were approximately 50.4 and 65.2 nm, respectively. CNTs have average inner and outer diameters of about 3 and 13 nm respectively, according to the transmitted electron microscope (TEM), and a wall thickness of about 5 nm. The detection of CO2 is accomplished by passing varying rates of the gas from 30 to 150 sccm over the prepared thin-film electrodes. At 150 sccm, the sensitivities of ZnO and ZnO/CNTs sensors are 6.8% and 22.4%, respectively. The ZnO/CNTs sensor has a very stable sensitivity to CO2 gas for 21 days. Moreover, this sensor has a high selectivity to CO2 in comparison with other gases, in which the ZnO/CNTs sensor has a higher sensitivity to CO2 compared to H2 and C2H2. Full article
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Review

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24 pages, 7407 KiB  
Review
A Review of Carbon Dots Produced from Biomass Wastes
by Chao Kang, Ying Huang, Hui Yang, Xiu Fang Yan and Zeng Ping Chen
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(11), 2316; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10112316 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 215 | Viewed by 15848
Abstract
The fluorescent carbon dot is a novel type of carbon nanomaterial. In comparison with semiconductor quantum dots and fluorescence organic agents, it possesses significant advantages such as excellent photostability and biocompatibility, low cytotoxicity and easy surface functionalization, which endow it a wide application [...] Read more.
The fluorescent carbon dot is a novel type of carbon nanomaterial. In comparison with semiconductor quantum dots and fluorescence organic agents, it possesses significant advantages such as excellent photostability and biocompatibility, low cytotoxicity and easy surface functionalization, which endow it a wide application prospect in fields of bioimaging, chemical sensing, environmental monitoring, disease diagnosis and photocatalysis as well. Biomass waste is a good choice for the production of carbon dots owing to its abundance, wide availability, eco-friendly nature and a source of low cost renewable raw materials such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, carbohydrates and proteins, etc. This paper reviews the main sources of biomass waste, the feasibility and superiority of adopting biomass waste as a carbon source for the synthesis of carbon dots, the synthetic approaches of carbon dots from biomass waste and their applications. The advantages and deficiencies of carbon dots from biomass waste and the major influencing factors on their photoluminescence characteristics are summarized and discussed. The challenges and perspectives in the synthesis of carbon dots from biomass wastes are also briefly outlined. Full article
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