News / Science & Technology

Graphene Called Amazing, Versatile Material of the Future

George Putic
In 2004, two scientists at the University of Manchester in England isolated a carbon-based material called graphene, with some unusual properties. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov hailed it as 'the wonder material of the 21st century,' and they were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics. Scientists now say that someday, graphene may change the way we live. 

Graphene is the first man-made two-dimensional material. It is actually only a one-atom-thick layer of pure carbon. It is closely related to nanotubes, and microscopic graphite balls called fullerenes.

Graphene is basically graphite, like the core of pencils, but its neatly-arranged and tightly-woven atoms make it 200 times stronger than a steel sheet of the same thickness.

Myriad positive qualities

The leader of the graphene research team at Manchester University, Aravind Vijayaraghavan, said incredible strength is not its only quality.

"It's bendable, stretchable, transparent, super light. The best conductor of heat, the best conductor of electricity. It's not just one thing that makes it amazing, it's in fact all these things rolled into one," said Vijayaraghavan.

The potential of graphene is practically unlimited. It can be used in cancer therapy, in flexible touchscreens, or for batteries that will charge in seconds. Top tennis players Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray use graphene-based racquets.

Development challenges

But being so thin, graphene also is extremely hard to handle, like the transparent cellulose used for wrapping food.

"It gets everywhere, it crinkles up, it sticks to everything," said Vijayaraghavan.

Because of that, large-scale production is still decades away, said George Mason University Engineering professor Dimitris Ioannou, speaking via Skype. “The real bottleneck is to find out the technique to make large area graphene layers and that’s not yet possible, I don’t think, but there is a lot of research going on,” he said.

Ioannou said someday, graphene may be very useful for smartphone displays, supercapacitors and nanoantennas for nanomachines that could talk to each other.

Britain and the European Union are building a $140-million National Graphene Institute in Manchester, while there are already close to 10,000 patents worldwide related to the new material.

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Comment Sorting
by: george wohanka from: E.E.U.U.
February 05, 2014 3:28 PM
You owe it to your listeners to contact Grafoid and announce to the world that graphene is being mass produced, once you have assured yourselves that this is indeed correct.

by: Andrew Hutton from: Ottawa, Canada
February 05, 2014 7:31 AM
For the record, Grafoid Inc., leads a global platform consisting of Focus Graphite Inc., Graphite Zero Pte Ltd., and the Graphene Research Center at the National University of Singapore which is, in fact, producing pristine, high energy density graphene in bulk. We are currently expanding our scalable, mass production facilities in Canada and the United States. By scalable, I mean scalable to tonnes. We are not decades away from mass production in North America as Prof. Ioannou suggests, but rather, months.

Ours is a remarkable accomplishment given the scale of interest - and funding - for graphene's development from governments, institutions and multinational corporations. Our simple, patent pending one step process transforms raw graphite ore to few layer MesoGraf™ - the first trademarked graphene in the world. That process overcomes graphene's physical inclinations to fold back on itself and results in the low-cost, reproducible and environmentally sustainable mass production of high surface area MesoGraf™.

As a company leading the charge towards graphene's commercialization, it is important that we educate the world on our achievements. Our academic, industrial and military application development partnerships have already led to the creation of new, game-changing industrial materials - materials we believe will propel us into a leading position in the Graphene Revolution.

Andrew Hutton, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications
Grafoid Inc. Ottawa, Canada
In Response

by: george wohanka from: usa
February 05, 2014 4:32 PM
Once you have confirmed that Hutton is correct I think you owe the world a follow up correcting the statement that production of graphene in bulk is decades away.

Canada as a sister country apparently will be able to produce graphene by the ton. If true let the world know. And if Grafoid's statements are not correct. explain why and tell the world that your original broadcast was correct.

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