Article last updated on: Jan 23, 2019

Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern. Graphene is considered to be the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material - to both electricity and heat. All this properties are exciting researchers and businesses around the world - as graphene has the potential the revolutionize entire industries - in the fields of electricity, conductivity, energy generation, batteries, sensors and more.

Mechanical strength

Graphene is the world's strongest material, and so can be used to enhance the strength of other materials. Dozens of researches have demonstrated that adding even a trade amount of graphene to plastics, metals or other materials can make these materials much stronger - or lighter (as you can use less amount of material to achieve the same strength).

applications of composites image

Such graphene-enhanced composite materials can find uses in aerospace, building materials, mobile devices, and many other applications.

Thermal applications

Graphene is the world's most conductive material to heat. As graphene is also strong and light, it means that it is a great material to make heat-spreading solutions, such as heat sinks. This could be useful in both microelectronics (for example to make LED lighting more efficient and longer lasting) and also in larger applications - for example thermal foils for mobile devices.

graphene-bulb-demonstration-image



Energy storage

Because graphene is the world's thinnest material, it is also the material with the highest surface-area to volume ratio. This makes graphene a very promising material to be used in batteries and supercapacitors. Graphene may enable devices that can store more energy - and charge faster, too. Graphene can also be used to enhance fuel-cells.

Coatings ,sensors, electronics and more

Graphene has a lot of other promising applications: anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.

Graphene is such a great and basic building block that it seems that any industry can benefit from this new material. Time will tell where graphene will indeed make an impact - or whether other new materials will be more suitable.

The latest Graphene Application news:

Korean scientists develop graphene electrode to enable next-gen perovskite solar cells

Several research institutions in South Korea are actively conducting research and development on next-generation solar cells, heightening expectations for commercialization. The research team led by Prof. Yoon Soon-gil of Chungnam National University has developed a new graphene electrode to produce perovskite solar cells at a low temperature. In addition, the team led by Prof. Choi Kyoung-jin of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNIST has developed a new concept tandem solar cell using transparent conductive adhesives (TCA).

The graphene electrode developed by Professor Yoon’s team can help create a perovskite solar cell at a low temperature and can raise both safety and economic efficiency.

Imagine Intelligent Materials develops sensing solution for large surface areas

Australia-based graphene and data analytics company, Imagine Intelligent Materials, has developed an integrated sensing solution that uses graphene coatings and edge-based signal processing devices to collect data from objects with large surface areas.

World first sensing solution for large surface areas by Imagine IM image

Proven over areas as large as 4,000 square meters, the system gathers data such as pressure, moisture, stress and temperature and is aimed at industrial and consumer applications in the IoT market.

Researchers achieve atomically-precise graphene origami

Past studies by various research groups around the world were able to demonstrate origami-like folding of graphite with a scanning probe, but could not command where or how the folds would occur. Now, by replacing the graphite with high-quality graphene nanoislands, researchers in China and the US have leveraged the atomic-level control of STM into an origami nanofabrication tool with an impressive level of precision.

Pristine graphene precisely folded image

“Similar to conventional paper origami, our current work has made it possible to create new complex nanostructures by custom-design folding of atomic layer materials,” says Hong-Jun Gao, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) who led this latest work. Alongside Shixuan Du and collaborators at CAS, as well as Vanderbilt University and the University of Maryland in the U.S, Gao reports how they can fold single layers of graphene with the direction of the fold specified over a range from around the magic angle at 1.1° (where observations of correlated electron behavior have been causing such a stir) to 60°, with a precision of 0.1°. Their STM manipulations also leave tubular structures at the edges that have one-dimensional structure electron characteristics similar to carbon nanotubes.

Researchers gain a better understanding of heat distribution processes

Understanding atomic level processes can open a wide range of prospects in nanoelectronics and material engineering. A team of scientists from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) recently suggested such a model, that describes the distribution of heat in ultrapure crystals at the atomic level.

The distribution of heat in nanostructures is not regulated by the laws that apply to conventional materials. This effect is most vividly expressed in the reaction between graphene and a laser-generated heat point source.

Graphene to enable super-resolution microscopy

Researchers at the University of Göttingen have developed a new method that utilizes the unusual properties of graphene to electromagnetically interact with fluorescing (light-emitting) molecules. This method allows scientists to optically measure extremely small distances, in the order of 1 ångström (one ten-billionth of a meter) with high accuracy and reproducibility for the first time. This enabled researchers to optically measure the thickness of lipid bilayers, the stuff that makes the membranes of all living cells.

Single molecules successfully demostrated imageOn the left: Image of single molecules on the graphene sheet. Such images allow scientists to determine the position and orientation for each molecule. Comparison with the expected image (right) shows excellent agreement. Credit: University of Göttingen

The University of Göttingen team, led by Professor Enderlein, used a single sheet of graphene, just one atom thick (0.34 nm), to modulate the emission of light-emitting (fluorescent) molecules when they came close to the graphene sheet. The excellent optical transparency of graphene and its capability to modulate through space the molecules' emission made it an extremely sensitive tool for measuring the distance of single molecules from the graphene sheet. The accuracy of this method is so good that even the slightest distance changes of around 1 ångström (this is about the diameter of an atom or half a millionth of a human hair) can be resolved. The scientists were able to show this by depositing single molecules above a graphene layer. They could then determine their distance by monitoring and evaluating their light emission.

Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again! Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!