RCPTM researchers significantly contributed to progress made on carbon nanostructures

The research into carbon nanostructures brought notable success to the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM). Therefore, the RCPTM Director and physical chemist Radek Zbořil decided to make this topic central to his lecture delivered last Wednesday.  After five years, he appeared as a guest speaker in the Contemporary Chemistry lecture series, supervised by the most cited Czech researcher Pavel Hobza.

“Professor Zbořil may be young but he has already ranked among the most prominent researchers in the Czech Republic, as evidenced by the citation response of his papers as well as the prestige of the journals in which they are published. He produces high-impact scientific publications; this has been confirmed by him appearing on the Highly Cited Researchers 2018 list. Prof. Zbořil manages a centre that employs four researchers who have been ranked as Highly Cited 2018,” said Prof. Hobza, introducing his guest speaker. Prof. Hobza appears on this list regularly.

While the lecture delivered five years ago focused on the applications of nanotechnologies in medicine, this year Prof. Zbořil talked about carbon nanostructures. “No other scientific area has achieved such dramatic progress over the past 20 years along with having a considerable impact on the other scientific areas. We began to deal with this topic ten years ago. What we are doing now would have been inconceivable back in the days,” said Zbořil.

The research into nanotechnology was triggered by the discovery of fullerene, the first nanomaterial, in 1985; however, the real turning point was the discovery of graphene in 2004, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. The year 2010 was crucial for the research in Olomouc. The scientist here were behind the discovery of fluorographene. Subsequently, they were able to use this experience while preparing other two-dimensional materials with defined properties. “The essential part of our research is the use of 2D chemistry in a series of applications ranging from catalysis, through spintronics, to supercondensators or biosensoring. These particular things give our work the real purpose,” added Zbořil. He also mentioned the different milestones in the research carried out at RCPTM, including the development of the thinnest insulant known to date; the first non-metallic magnet; two dimensional carboxylic acid; or the description of antibacterial resistance to silver nanoparticles. The research into carbon dots, which allow various applications in medicine etc., is also very promising.

“In some areas, we’re destroying myths and taking unexplored routes. This I want to emphasize. Do not be afraid to challenge authorities,” said the scientist, addressing mainly the students present at the lecture.

The goal for the 14th year of the Contemporary Chemistry lecture series is to promote the science in Olomouc.  Three out of the four guest speakers are representatives of the research centres belonging to Palacký University. After the lectures by the scientific director of the Centre of the Region Haná and the general director of the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials, the series will continue to feature another two speakers. On March 20, it will be Marian Hajdúch from the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine. On March 27, Pavel Šaradín from the Faculty of Arts will conclude the whole series.

Lecture video (in Czech)