Magic Carpet
More powerful batteries, oil spill clean-up, toxin detectors and more. They all rely on tiny but talented carbon nanomaterials and the imaginative research of Dr. Rao.

Dr. Apparao Rao and his Clemson team are creating safer carbon nanomaterials to boost high-tech industries, help the environment and improve healthcare.

With a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant, Rao is developing power storage devices that can deliver high energy quickly. Their nanomaterial is a layer of carbon that is thinner than the sheerest fabric and coated with a special polymer to conduct a charge. They will create rolls of it in a process much like a printing press.

Their research also includes designing other nanomaterials to leverage their extraordinary electrical, mechanical, thermal and optical properties that can detect pathogens, deliver drugs to the bloodstream and more.

The potential for real-world relevance excites Rao most. “At the end of the day, knowledge should be useful to humanity.”

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