Over the past 20 years, the MSOC Nanochemisty group at UCLM has worked on different research lines, which go from the production of exfoliated 2D nanomaterials for biological applications to the development of new stimuli-responsive soft materials, specifically in smart hybrid hydrogels. We have also worked on the functionalization and purification of carbon nanostructures using non-conventional methodologies, demonstrating how scaling-up of the modified carbon nanostructures is possible using green protocols: i) We have applied microwave radiation to activate carbon nanostructures in solvent-free conditions, preparing multifunctional derivatives that can serve as versatile synthons in materials science and biological applications and ii) we have developed ball milling methodologies, in dry media, to shorten and functionalize carbon nanotubes, and recently, for graphene preparation. The ball milling approach allows the production of highly dispersed graphene in organic solvents, and it is one of the best ways of producing graphene suspensions in water, which enables, for instance, the study of interactions of graphene with biological bodies and the incorporation of graphene in smart gels with applications on controlled drug delivery, tissue engineering and soft robotics. This work has permitted the collaboration with industrial partners under the INNPACTO program, and with numerous European groups within the framework of the Graphene Flagship projects. Our work is collected in a total of 6 international patents, and numerous articles in high-impact journals. The group is currently made up of 17 people; four of them are UCLM professors, two postdoctoral researchers, seven PhD students, two master’s student and two research technicians. All the doctoral theses all have funded by the Central Administration, either in open calls or associated with projects.
You can find us at the Nanotechnology Laboratory at the IRICA (Instituto Regional de Investigación Científica Aplicada, www.irica.uclm.es) Institute, UCLM, Ciudad Real, Spain.