Scientists discover new, surprising way to create graphene

It's the futuristic new material which is supposed to take computing to the next level.

 

Graphene, incredibly thin stronger than a diamond and a better conductor than copper, has been dubbed the "wonder material" by scientists, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But there's always been one problem. It's very hard to make large amounts of it in high quality.

Until now.

It is as simple as using a kitchen blender and dishwasher detergent, according to a study by published in the Nature Materials journal.

Graphene is a two-dimensional sheet of graphite, essentially a lattice of hexagons that is the most stable form of carbon under normal conditions.

The trick with the material has always been that to use it effectively it needed to be produced in very high quality, a process that scientists have found difficult to this point.

"The commercial development of graphene and related two-dimensional materials is at present restrained by the lack of production techniques ready for industrial scale-up," James Tour of Rice University in Houston said about the paper.

Graphene is made of hexagonal pieces of graphite and is the thinnest material in the world. Photo: Getty Images

What scientists are really looking for is a spray-on smart coating application to use on products on a mass scale.

In an effort to achieve this, scientists led from Trinity College, Dublin, placed graphite powder in a laboratory blender with a surfactant mixture to create the pure sheets of graphene as a level far higher than before.

They then tried to replicate the experiment using a simple Kenwood kitchen blender and some dishwashing liquid, and the results were surprising.

"This clearly shows that even very crude mixers can produce well exfoliated graphene," study co-author Jonathan Coleman and colleagues wrote in the paper.

If the process can be refined, it could have huge impacts on the future development of technology in the next several years.

"In the next decade, graphene will find commercial applications in many areas from high-frequency electronics to smart coatings," the authors wrote.

"Some important classes of applications, such as printed electronics, conductive coatings and composite fillers, will require industrial-scale production of defect-free graphene in a processable form."

feedback