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Evolving Nanocarbon Strategies in (bio-) Organic Remits

Final Report Summary - ENSOR (Evolving Nanocarbon Strategies in (bio-) Organic Remits)

The ENSOR project was a 4 year FP7 IRSES (International Research Staff Exchange Scheme) project, coordinated by the University of Brighton. The project involves the exchange of key staff between the EU (United Kingdom and Hungary), Russia and Japan.

The aim of the project was the controlled production and chemical modification of a variety of novel nanocarbons for specific end applications reaching into the bio-organic field. The project supported the exchange of key researchers and staff operating at the cutting edge of their academic field providing synergistic collaborative developments of the source material through to the final composites and applications. Furthermore, the project provided training and education through collating the best techniques available within each country to provide international excellence, facilitating transfer of knowledge and 'know how' between the participating parties, being of mutual interest, fostering long term collaborative opportunities well beyond the scope of the project.

The success of the project was supported by the joint investigations of five teams from the University of Brighton (UoB, UK), Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem, BME, Hungary), Institute of Hydrocarbons Processing of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Omsk, Russia), Kazan State University (KSU, Russia) and Toyo University (Toyo, Japan). It engaged expertise from these groups in the areas of: nanocarbon synthesis (Omsk, Toyo, BME), carbon surface chemistry (UoB, Omsk), adsorption technologies (Omsk, UoB, KSU, BME), carbon-polymer composite fabrication (UoB, BME, Omsk), electrochemical biosensors (Toyo, KSU), phage and viral detection (UoB), nerve cell repair (Toyo, KSU). The complementary aspects existing between EU partners and those from Russia and Japan, as well as the multidisciplinary character of the proposed research created sufficient synergy to meet the planned objectives and resulted in cross-fertilization of knowledge and expertise with the consortium as a whole.

The main results achieved within the four years of the ENSOR project primarily have focused on the production of carbon material, composites and hybrids, and their use in adsorption processes, bioanalytical technique and biomedical applications. During the project we developed a range of the carbon based materials: nanofibres, nanoglobules, nanospirals and nanofilms with controlled geometries and/or enhanced properties through doping with heteroatoms, plus carbon with controlled porosity, including chemical modification to specifically tune their physicochemical properties. Novel production of single-layer and multi-layer graphene material has been achieved through the thermal transformation of expanding copolymer. Some aspects of cytocompatibility of graphene oxide particles and their interaction with mammalian cell plasma membrane have been examined. The project partners tailored the structural parameters, geometry and physicochemical properties of nanocarbons for the potential development of biosenors, rapid bacteria screening in liquid media, DNA therapeutics and hemoperfusion adsorption. These advanced materials have potential for developing new technologies, e.[*]g[/*]. next generation of ultracapacitors, advanced organic decomposition catalysts, effective sorption materials for health and environment protection, superior mechanical reinforcement additives.

The ENSOR project brought together scientific communities of Eastern and Western Europe, Russia and Japan. It attracted experts and leading researchers from within and outside the EU, bringing additional knowledge and access to unique methodologies and technologies. A increased mobility of researchers, particularly young researchers, created excellent career opportunities for large number of individuals involved. The project supported the creation of a network of national research centers of excellence and strong collaboration between the partners was established, which makes the EC more competitive at the global scale and may ultimately contribute to its economic growth.