Rational assembly of anisotropic nanoparticles in polymers is a strategy for obtaining mutifuncional nanocomposites with superior properties. Many high aspect ratio anisotropic nanomaterials form stable liquid crystals, and their order in colloidal form can be translated into ordered solid polymer nanocomposites. Inspired by the structure of nacre (mother of pearl), we process highly aligned and layered polymer nanocomposites of 2D nanomaterials such as graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO). The anisotropic nanocomposites show a host of superior multifunctional properties and find application in anti-corrosion coatings, electromagnetic interference shielding, food packaging, and scratch resistant surface. We try to understand the mechanism of self-assembly of 2D nanomaterials from stable liquid crystalline colloidal dispersions into solid ordered nanocomposites, and to explore their advanced anisotropic properties for various engineering applications. 

Related Publications:

•    “Self-assembly of ultralarge graphene oxide nanosheets and alginate into layered nanocomposites for robust packaging materials”, SX Weng, N Yousefi* and N Tufenkji, ACS Applied Nano Materials (2019), 2, 1431–1444.

•    “Highly aligned graphene/polymer nanocomposites with excellent dielectric properties for high performance electromagnetic interference shielding”, N Yousefi, N Sun, X Y Lin, X Shen, JJ Jia, B Zhang, BZ Tang, MS Chan and JK Kim, Advanced Materials (2014), 26, 5480–5487. 

•    “Self-alignment and high electrical conductivity of ultra-large graphene oxide/polyurethane nanocomposites”, N Yousefi, MM Gudarzi, QB Zheng, SH Aboutalebi, F Sharif and JK Kim, Journal of Materials Chemistry (2012), 22, 12709–12717. 


Microstructure of freeze-dried GO-alginate liquid crystalline dispersions

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Evolution of liquid crystal domains in GO-alginate under polarized optical microscope

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Microstructure of layered GO-alginate nanocomposite films

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