This is a transversal area of research in the Group, focusing on the production of carbon materials (nanotubes/nanofibers, graphene derivatives, graphitic carbon nitride, carbon dots, carbon gels, ordered mesoporous carbons, graphyne, among others) with tuned textural and surface chemical properties. Nanostructured and functionalized carbon materials are used for a variety of applications, including catalysis, adsorption, development of composites and other innovative materials such as functional textiles, carbon-based membranes, and biomedical devices.

Solvent-free methodologies involving ball-milling mechanical and thermal treatments for incorporating different heteroatoms (N, S, P, and B) were consolidated. N-doped glucose-derived carbons and glucose-derived carbon/carbon nanotube hybrid materials were prepared and tested in relevant applications. Plastics, from simulated and solid waste precursors, were used to produce carbon nanotubes.

Increasingly active and stable mono and bimetallic catalysts for several catalytic reactions were synthesized by combining different metal active centers incorporated on adequate carbon supports or hybrid materials. The most active materials were incorporated on structured supports (cordierite monoliths) and applied in continuous catalytic systems. Novel metal-free catalysts were developed in this period, including: acid carbon xerogels for the hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicelluloses; SO3H-bearing carbons prepared from sugars or glycerol for the production of acetins; and heteroatom-doped carbon nanotubes for oxidation of organic compounds. Efficient strategies were developed for immobilizing the enzyme L-asparaginase onto multiwalled carbon nanotubes and carbon xerogels with tuned surface chemistry.

Textiles with eco-friendly self-cleaning and antimicrobial properties were obtained through a budget-friendly LED setup using graphitic carbon nitride, a metal-free photocatalyst. Innovative clothing designs achieving over 30 dB shielding effectiveness (SE) for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) were developed using carbon nanotubes, TiO2, Fe2O3, and PEDOT:PSS. Textiles coated with 70 wt.% Bi2O3 dispersed in a polymeric matrix surpassed heavy lead-based solutions in flexibility and efficacy for high-frequency radiation protection. Carbon dots with tunable fluorescence were developed and validated as potential fluorescent probes for bioimaging applications.

Major projects in this research area include: