Project TitleVacuum-Assisted Self-Assembly for the Creation of Layered Nanocomposites
Track Code2010-047
Short Description

An improved method for producing well-ordered free-standing nanocomposite films and papers.

#materials #graphene/graphite #nanotechnology #fabrication


Northwestern researchers have developed an improved method for producing nanocomposites. While composites produced by layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly, a common methodology, have excellent mechanical properties, LBL has a number of drawbacks, including limited material selection, setup cost and complexity, fabrication speed, and a narrow range of interlayer polymer composition. This new technology called vacuum-assisted (VASA) is a highly flexible technique for fabricating well-ordered, free-standing graphene oxide–polymer nanocomposite films/papers with high nanofiller concentrations (>50 wt%). It uses a simple, inexpensive membrane filter to obtain material with significant proportions of both polymer and nanofiller components from a colloidal solution of graphene oxide and polymer. VASA rapidly produces macroscopic samples of homogenous layered graphene oxide-polymer nanocomposities with either hydrophilic or hydrophobic polymers. Because VASA relies on filtration for assembly instead of alternating layer deposition, it is a complimentary method to LBL for fabricating layered polymer nanocomposites, expanding the scope of these layered materials with the following advantages: wider material selection, inexpensive and simple setup, faster buildup of layers, and wide range of intergallery polymer content.

TagsMATERIALS: graphene/graphite, NANOTECHNOLOGY: fabrication
Posted DateJan 31, 2012 3:30 PM


Owen Compton
Karl Putz
L. Catherine Brinson
SonBinh Nguyen*


  • Gas separation membranes
  • High-strength structural materials


  • Highly flexible technique
  • Rapid production
  • Inexpensive and simple setup
  • Wider material selection
  • Faster buildup of layers
  • Wide range of intergallery polymer content


IP Status

A patent application has been filed.

Contact Information

Zach Brown, PhD
Invention Associate  

(p) (847) 491-4629