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Summary:

Graphene can be made in a high-temperature oven, where it grows on a sheet of metal. Researchers instead sandwiched a piece of metal between graphene to remove the need to transfer the unusual material.

Quercus Trust's Latest Energy Storage Play: Graphene Energy

It has only been a decade since researchers successfully isolated graphene for the first time, but scientists are already developing increasingly sophisticated ways to make it. The latest effort comes out of MIT, where a team developed a way to work around one of the trickier aspects of graphene manufacturing.

Graphene is generally made in a high-temperature oven, where it pulls out of the air and deposits on a sheet of metal like copper or nickel.

“To make it useful, you have to get it off the metal and onto a substrate, such as a silicon wafer or a polymer sheet, or something larger like a sheet of glass,” MIT team lead A. John Hart said in a release. “But the process of transferring it has become much more frustrating than the process of growing the graphene itself, and can damage and contaminate the graphene.”

A visual representation of how graphene is grown and then removed. Photo courtesy of MIT.

A visual representation of how graphene is grown and then removed. Photo courtesy of MIT.

The team got around the need to transfer the graphene by making a sort of metal sandwich; instead of just growing the graphene on one side of a sheet of nickel, they grew it on both sides. The sandwich sat on a sheet of glass, so when the top layer of graphene and nickel were peeled away, it left a sheet of graphene on the glass. The combo is then ready to be integrated into a TV or mobile device screen.

The process isn’t just limited to glass. Graphene could also be grown on a flexible material that works well in solar cells or directly on silicon wafers.

“We’ve shown this mechanism can work. Now it’s a matter of improving the attributes needed to produce a high-performance graphene coating,” Hart added in the release.

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  1. Thanks for the update on graphene. I would be interested in any other developments in that area.
    Leslie

  2. alstonalston521 Friday, May 23, 2014

    The sandwich sat on a sheet of glass, so when the top layer of graphene and nickel were peeled away, http://bit.ly/1gWAAiP

  3. It be nice if they had mentioned what graphene is and why it’s important.

    1. Unlike soft and slippery graphite (a form of carbon) the hexagonal array of carbon atoms in graphene form a continuous sheet only one atom thick. It conducts electricity well and is super strong. More articles about it will appear as it becomes commercially available.

    2. My exact thoughts.

    3. Signe Brewster Harry O Monday, May 26, 2014

      I have written about graphene extensively in the past. For an overview, here is a piece I wrote last summer:

      https://gigaom.com/2013/07/15/what-is-graphene-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-a-material-that-could-be-the-next-silicon/

  4. James Alvarado Saturday, May 24, 2014

    simply simple

  5. Graphene is a very strong pure carbon that is an awesome conductor of heat and electricity.

  6. Can it make into a I-Beam ?

  7. Keep on working on it guys! You’ll get it!!!

  8. Hurry; the world needs the desalination process to be taken to the next level in an urgent way. Graphene can aid the process by increasing filtering efficiency, and reducing costs.

  9. BeamMeUpScotty Saturday, May 24, 2014

    Next is Clear Alumimum

    1. …already have it..it’s called sapphire..ruby..

  10. Yes, but didn’t they also discover recently that Graphene is extremely brittle when it has a small crack in it? (http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/661306-scientists-find-fatal-flaw-in-brittle-graphene/) Does this new process perhaps greatly reduce the chances of that?

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