More evidence that playing with graphene makes everything a little bit more awesome: Researchers looking into how diamond and graphene would interact at high temperatures wound up etching the diamond by trapping water heated to its supercritical phase next to the diamond’s surface.
To paraphrase a certain movie, let me say just one word: Graphene. This material has been embraced by scientists around the world who have been finding more and more potential uses for it. For those not in the know, graphene is basically made from ultra-thin slices of graphite. The material is stronger than steel and is a thermal and electric conductor.
Graphene does not just have one application. It is not even one material. It is a huge range of materials. A good comparison would be to how plastics are used. –Professor Andre Geim, co-holder of the Nobel Prize in physics for his work with graphene at Manchester University.
The particular usage of graphene we’re looking at today is to create flexible and highly conductive electrochemical capacitors. A team comprised of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and Cairo University have published a method of using laser-engraved graphene to create the capacitors in Science. Continue reading
Chalk this one up as yet another cool thing you can do with graphene: you can distill alcohol with it.
We already knew that the strong, transparent material could conduct electricity and heat; you can add “superpermeable with respect to water” to the list, as well.
A research team at Manchester University has created a membrane made of graphene oxide that allows water to evaporate through it, while blocking other molecules. The researchers (including Andrei Geim, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for discovering graphene) sealed a metal container with the film, which blocked air or other gases from escaping. Continue reading
We’ve talked a number of times on Engineering on the Edge about the problems being encountered by manufacturers and developers when it comes to improving the good old silicon chip. The chips get smaller, become less energy efficient, and will eventually reach a point of no return.
Scientists have posited a number of solutions to this problem. Ideas include light-powered chips, liquid-powered chips, and using graphene in place of silicon to create chips. Now a team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has begun experimenting with molybdenite and the results seem promising.
It’s starting to seem like there is no limit to the new uses scientists can find for graphene, and now researchers at the University of Cambridge are using it to replace conductive inks and generate higher-performance printed electronics.
Traditional printed circuits (using inks that contain conducting polymers) are being used to make (among other things) disposable RFID tags and even toys. However, printed electronics don’t perform as well as conventional integrated circuits, and the inks are often unstable.
Graphene has already proven its worth in nanoelectronics; the Cambridge Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Group has solved the problem of turning graphene into a printable ink. The researchers produced graphene by chemically chipping flakes off a block of graphite, filtering the material, then adding those flakes to a solvent called N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP). Continue reading