Treatment for Graphene Could Enable New TechnologiesCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: December 17, 2013 03:04PM
Graphene is an amazing material with many amazing properties that make it very interesting to those developing the future of electronics. Unfortunately it also lacks some properties that are needed for use in electronics, but by adding other atoms to it, those properties can be added. Researchers at MIT and the University of California, Berkeley have recently found a new treatment process for graphene oxide that could have a large impact on its future uses.
Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon that sports high electrical conductivity and strength. Graphene oxide is similar in structure, but has some oxygen and hydrogen atoms added to the mix that give it the properties needed for multiple applications. Working with graphene oxide however can also require working with harsh chemical or temperatures in excess of 700 ºC. The new process however only requires temperatures between 50 and 80 ºC and does not need the harsh chemicals, making it all much safer. What it actually does is allow the oxygen atoms to form clusters on the graphene, without affecting the graphene structure beneath them so between the insulating clusters are conductive graphene paths.
This discovery could impact technologies from biological sensors to solar cells, and the researchers' groups are investigating those possibilities. It no doubt helps that this annealing process can also be applied on a large scale, for any future commercial uses.