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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.

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

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

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

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    1. Steven cohen Saturday, May 24, 2014

      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.

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    2. My exact thoughts.

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    3. 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/

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  4. James Alvarado Saturday, May 24, 2014

    simply simple

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

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  6. Can it make into a I-Beam ?

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

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  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.

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  9. BeamMeUpScotty Saturday, May 24, 2014

    Next is Clear Alumimum

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

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  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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