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* Summary description of the project objectives

The remarkable properties of high-surface area carbons, compatible in that with carbon nanotubes, provide a tremendous opportunity for fabrication, even at very low filler concentrations, of composites with outstanding electrical and electromagnetic properties. Due to their multifunctional properties, carbon/polymer composites can be widely used as relatively low weight and ultra-thin effective electric and optical components, as well as electromagnetic (EM) shielding and absorbing coatings. At the same time, ultra-lightweight carbon foams, being highly conductive, are expected to have very high EM shielding ability due to their cellular structure.

Moreover, carbon foams have extremely low cost, and demonstrate outstanding thermal insulation / fire resistant and good mechanical properties. Along with polymer/carbon composites and highly conducting porous carbon monoliths, one more very attractive object for investigation its electromagnetic properties is ultrathin carbonaceous film - pyrolytic carbon or a few layer graphene. We expect that they could absorb up to 50% of the incident microwave power despite the fact that their thickness is only a small fraction of the skin depth. The idea of the project is to provide comparative study of EM shielding effectiveness of carbon foams, carbon ultra-thin films and epoxy/carbon composites with low filler concentration in microwave frequency range and to support the experimental data with an adequate theoretical model of materials’ electromagnetics. On the basis of our theoretical simulations and experimental database collected within the project implementation, we intent to contribute into solution of one of the most challenging problem in material science: to develop EM coating through design-oriented-approach.

The electromagnetic response of a heterostructure based on a monolayer of hollow glassy carbon spheres packed in 2D was experimentally surveyed with respect to its response to microwaves, namely, the Ka-band (26–37GHz) frequency range. Such an ordered monolayer of spheres mimics the well-known “moth-eye”-like coating structures, which are widely used for designing anti-reflective surfaces, and was modelled with the long-wave approximation. Based on the experimental and modelling results, we demonstrate that carbon hollow spheres may be used for building an extremely lightweight, almost perfectly absorbing, coating for Ka-band applications.

This result published in Appl Phys Lett in the beginning of 2016 got a wide scientific community interest, being advertised in Science daily "Antireflective Coating: Sugar-based carbon hollow spheres that mimic moth eyes" and many other sorces, see e.g.

Reported by

Université de Lorraine
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