An Overview of Graphene Hybrid Materials

Since it was first created in 2004, graphene has mesmerized scientists with its rare qualities and seemingly endless potential. At exactly one atom in thickness, graphene is perhaps the strongest material on Earth (about 100 times the strength of steel) It is a very efficient conductor of heat and electricity, and it is nearly transparent. While graphene itself is the subject of research for use in semiconductor, electronics, solar energy, aerospace, and other industries, graphene manufactures are working on developing hybrids that show a similar potential for revolutionizing a number of industries.

Upconversion Nanoparticles

Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have gained lots of interest because of their applications in bioimaging and therapy. Both the excitation and (anti- Stokes) emission wavelengths are in the long wave part of the spectrum so that their luminescence can deeply penetrate tissues and cause low photodamage in biological samples. Their large anti-Stokes shifts, sharp emission bands, zero auto-fluorescence from biological samples and high photostability renders them an ideal kind of fluorescent labels for a variety of analytical formats, for bioimaging in cancer therapy.

Organic Dots

Today, scientists are exploring the possibility of using nanoscale fluorescent carbon dots instead of luminescent nanosized semiconductor crystals (quantum dots) and rare earth elements nanophosphors. Typically, carbon dots are not made only of carbon, but also contain other elements, including hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Fluorescent sites of carbon dots are usually organic molecules bound by intermolecular or covalent forces. Therefore, these nanostructures should, more precisely, be called organic dots, or luminescent organic clusters. Organic dots possess the attractive properties of low toxicity, being environmentally friendly, offering simple synthetic routes and low cost, as well as having comparable optical properties to traditional quantum dots and organic dyes.