Low-Dimensional Nanocarbon-Based Multifunctional Composites

Low-dimensional nanocarbons are major building blocks for ceramic nanocomposites. Due to their versatile surface chemistry, they can be incorporated into these materials using a green engineering technology, an issue important for a sustainable energy and environment advancement.

Low-dimensional nanocarbons have fascinating nanostructures, unique properties and abundant functionalities: such as high specific surface area, tunable pore structure, excellent electrical conductivity, and valuable thermal and chemical stability.

This topic aims for a broad and deep knowledge of the relationships between the phase composition / nanostructure and the properties of the target ceramic nanocomposite materials consisting of low-dimensional nanocarbon-based phases (such as nanodiamond (ND), onion-like carbon, carbon nanotubes, graphene) finely dispersed in a ceramic matrix (i.e., silica or Si3N4).

Novel 0D-nanocarbon silica ceramic composites and their high-temperature evolution.

The topic includes the synthesis of novel 0D-nanocarbon-silica ceramic composites and their high-temperature evolution with a homogeneous fine distribution of nanoparticles with sizes less than 10 nm.:

The 0D-nanocarbon phase suffers a transformation from nanodiamond phase to bucky nanodiamond (with core-shell structure) to onion-like carbon as function of the temperature of thermal annealing.


Alexander Ott, Simone Rogg, Stefan Lauterbach, Hans-Joachim Kleebe, Christian Hess, Gabriela Mera, “Novel 0D-Nanocarbon-Silica Ceramic Composites: Sol-Gel-Synthesis and High-Temperature Evolution”, Dalton Transactions 2020, 49, 7144 – 7154.

Facile sol–gel synthesis of reduced graphene oxide-silica nanocomposites

2D-Nanocarbon-based multifunctional composites can be synthesized by facile sol-gel synthesis or by polymer-derived graphene syntheses.

The achieved nanocomposites have tunable dielectric properties.


Cornelia Hintze, Koji Morita, Ralf Riedel, Emanuel Ionescu, Gabriela Mera, “Facile sol–gel synthesis of reduced graphene oxide/silica nanocomposites”, Journal of the European Ceramic Society 2016, 36(12), 2923–2930.

Xifan Wang, Gabriela Mera, Koji Morita, Emanuel Ionescu, “Synthesis of polymer-derived graphene/silicon nitride-based nanocomposites with tunable dielectric properties“, Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan, 2016, 124(10), 981-988.

Bamboo-like MWCNTs in a mesoporous, high specific surface area silica matrix are synthesized by a simple metal-catalyst-free single-source precursor approach.

Polymer-to-ceramic conversion process of single-source precursors can be used as efficient and unique tool in order to create well-defined carbon nanotubes-containing composites just by simple tailoring of the chemical structure of the precursors.

These nanocomposites possess exceptional properties, such as high electric conductivity, porous structure, high specific surface area; thus, they can find applications in several fields such as vehicle/aircraft technology, health & safety, energy storage and conversion, air/water pollution control, airspace applications, etc.


Gabriela Mera, Peter Kroll, Ilia Ponomarev, Jiewei Chen, Koji Morita, Moritz Liesegang, Emanuel Ionescu, Alexandra Navrotsky, “Metal-Catalyst-Free Access to Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes/Silica Nanocomposites (MWCNT/SiO2) from a Single-Source Precursor”, Dalton Transactions 2019, 48, 11018-11033.

Polymer-derived ceramic process.

Silicon-based polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) represent a class of materials which are produced by the controlled pyrolysis of suitable organosilicon polymers in inert or reactive atmosphere.

This procedure allows the access to novel additive-free ternary and quaternary ceramic materials which cannot be achieved using conventional processing techniques such as sintering or melting. PDCs are X-ray amorphous but nanoscopically heterogeneous materials.

One of the most intriguing features of PDCs is the presence of nanodomains of 1-3 nm in size in their structure and thus they can be regarded as intrinsic nanocomposites.

The free-carbon phase not only makes these materials “smart” but also strongly influences their thermal stability against crystallization and decomposition as well as the sizes of composing nanodomains.


Bioinorganic Chemistry Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry, 3rd Edition, Update 2019, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., S. 1-26, DOI: 10.1002/9781119951438.eibc2705.

Gabriela Mera, Markus Gallei, Samuel Bernard, Emanuel Ionescu, “Ceramic Nanocomposites from Tailor Made Preceramic Polymers”, Nanomaterials 2015, 5(2), 468-540.

Emanuel Ionescu, Gabriela Mera, Ralf Riedel, “Polymer-Derived Ceramics: Materials Design towards Applications at Ultrahigh-Temperatures and in Extreme Environments”, in “Nanotechnology Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications”, Ed: Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, IGI Global Publishing 2014, 1108-1139.

Gabriela Mera, Emanuel Ionescu, “Silicon-Containing Preceramic Polymers”, Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology, 2013, DOI: 10.1002/0471440264.pst591.

Gabriela Mera, Alexandra Navrotsky, Sabyasachi Sen, Hans-Joachim Kleebe, Ralf Riedel, “Polymer- Derived SiCN and SiOC Ceramics – Structure and Energetics at the Nanoscale” (Feature article), J. Mater. Chem. A 2013, 1, 3826-3836.

Paolo Colombo, Gabriela Mera, Ralf Riedel, Gian Domenico Soraru, “Polymer-derived ceramics: 40 years of research and innovation in advanced ceramics” (Feature Article and Cover Publication), Journal of the American Ceramic Society 2010, 93(7), 1805-1837.

Gabriela Mera, Ralf Riedel, “Synthesis and properties of preceramic polymers. Organosilicon-based polymers as precursors for ceramics”, pp. 51-89 in Polymer Derived Ceramics: From Nanostructure to Applications, Edited by P.Colombo, R.Riedel, G. D.Sorarù, and H.-J.Kleebe. DEStech Publications Inc., Lancaster, PA, USA (2010).

Ralf Riedel, Gabriela Mera, Ralf Hauser, Alexander Klonczynski, “Silicon-based polymer-derived ceramics: synthesis properties and applications – a review”, Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan 2006, 114(June), 425-444.