Graphene and Graphene-Based Polymer Nanocomposites: the New Wonder Materials of the Nanoworld
Graphene, the one-atom-thick planar sheet of sp2 bonded carbon atoms packed in a honeycomb lattice, is considered to be the mother of all graphitic materials like fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and graphite. Graphene, the two-dimensional form of graphite was first isolated in 2004 by Geim and Novoselov of Manchester University, United Kingdom. Today, graphene is the most attractive nanomaterial not only because it is the thinnest known material and the strongest material ever measured in the universe, but also due to its excellent electrical, thermal, mechanical, electronic, and optical properties. It has potential applications ranging from sensors, field-effect transistors, displays, energy storage and photovoltaic devices. In this paper, a brief overview on various aspects of graphene such as synthesis, functionalization, self-assembly, some of its amazing properties along with its various applications ranging from sensors to energy storage devices had been illustrated. This paper also reviews recent advances in the graphene-based polymer nanocomposites. The structure, synthesis, and various interesting properties of polymer/graphene nanocomposites are illustrated in general along with detailed examples drawn from the scientific literature. The challenges and outlook of these graphene-based polymer nanocomposites are also discussed.