Synthesis and preservation of graphene-supported uranium dioxide nanocrystals

Hanyu Ma, Haitao Wang, Peter C. Burns, Bruce K. McNamara, Edgar C. Buck, Chongzheng Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Graphene-supported uranium dioxide (UO2) nanocrystals are potentially important fuel materials. Here, we investigate the possibility of synthesizing graphene-supported UO2 nanocrystals in polar ethylene glycol compounds by the polyol reduction of uranyl acetylacetone under boiling reflux, thereby enabling the use of an inexpensive graphene precursor graphene oxide into a one-pot process. We show that triethylene glycol is the most suitable solvent with an appropriate reduction potential for producing nanometer-sized UO2 crystals compared to monoethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, and polyethylene glycol. Graphene-supported UO2 nanocrystals synthesized with triethylene glycol show evidence of heteroepitaxy, which can be beneficial for facilitating heat transfer in nuclear fuel particles. Furthermore, we show that graphene-supported UO2 nanocrystals synthesized by polyol reduction can be readily stored in alcohols, impeding oxidation from the prevalent oxygen in air. Together, these methods provide a facile approach for preparing and storing graphene-supported UO2 nanocrystals for further investigation and development under ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


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