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Laser-Induced Graphene Created

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 06:37AM
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Some of the best things in life do not come easily, and that is also true of materials science. Every now and then though, new discoveries can make things easy. Researchers at Rice University have recently found a way to very efficiently produce graphene using a laser and an inexpensive plastic.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon that looks like chicken-wire, because of how the atoms arrange themselves into hexagons. At least that is the case for pure graphene. The laser-induced graphene (LIG) the Rice researchers created is actually a 20 micron-thick foam comprised of graphene flakes, filled with defects. These defects though, rings made of five and seven carbon atoms, are actually good in this instance because they can hold electrons. This makes it an ideal material for use in microsupercapacitors, which could one day come to replace batteries with high energy densities and great charge and discharge rates. Even after 9000 charge cycles, the prototype supercapacitors did not suffer significant degradation.

Making the LIG was as simple as firing a laser at polyimide flexible plastic sheets, which is called Kapton and can purchased in huge rolls. The laser writing process itself can be done in air and at room temperature, so the process could be easily scaled up for mass production and even integrated into a roll-to-roll manufacturing.

 

 

Source: Rice University



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