Hello Friends Do you know “Graphene” ? As you know that Silica was a revolutionary material in electronic industry. But that was few decades ago. Now question is “what is next..?”
The primary challenge in front of electronics industry in upcoming years is the further miniaturization of technology. Have you ever thought of having a car which can detect who is touching your car or a cloth which can charge your phone while walking? if not then start thinking because it is now going to take place in reality with the help of a material known as Graphene, which is more solid than steel and a better conductor than copper. Now let us know about Graphene in this article.
What is Graphene?
As it is indicated by the name itself, Graphene is a single atomic layer extracted from graphite, the material used in pencils. Like graphite, Graphene is entirely composed of carbon atoms and 1mm of graphite contains some 3 million layers of Graphene. Graphite is a 3-D crystalline arrangement whereas Graphene is a 2-D crystal . The carbons are perfectly distributed in a hexagonal honeycomb formation only 0.3 nanometers thick, with just 0.1 nanometers between each atom.
Graphene is highly versatile material and its amazing properties make it strongest and lightest material. It is the thinnest material to be created without becoming unstable when it is exposed to temperature, air, etc.
Challenges in production ofGraphene
The creation of high quality Graphene was very expensive and complex process that involved the use of toxic chemicals to grow Graphene as a mono-layer by exposing platinum, nickel or titanium carbide to ethylene or benzene at high temperatures. It was also impossible to grow Graphene on a large scale using crystalline epitaxy on anything other than metallic substrate. This severely limited the use of Graphene in electronics because it was difficult at that time to separate the layers of Graphene from its metallic substrate without damaging it.
However, in 2012 by analyzing the Graphene’s interfacial adhesive energy, it is found possible to separate Graphene layer from metallic board on which it is grown and we are also able to reuse the board for future applications. The quality of the Graphene that was separated was sufficiently high enough to create molecular electronic devices successfully. This is made possible by a physics professor and his Ph.D. students in laboratory of University of Manchester.
Applications of Graphene
Graphene has the potential to create the next generation of electronics which is currently limited to sci-fi. We could have amazing devices like super-small computers, foldable computers that we can carry in our pocket wherever we go and production techniques become more simplified and cost-effective.
- Graphene’s mechanical properties as well as conductivity offers a real alternative to indium-tin oxide (currently used in touch screen displays) and it could replace the existing touch screen technology in electronic devices because Graphene is flexible whereas indium- tin oxide is brittle.
- It can be used to manufacture super capacitors that can be charged very quickly (Graphene is the known most electronically conductive material at 1738 siemens per meter), highly flexible, thin and very inexpensive to produce. Batteries or capacitors can be developed to last much longer and at higher capacities than before. It means electronic devices could be charged within seconds rather than hours.
- With Graphene one could expect foldable televisions , telephones and tablets and eventually flexible newspapers containing all the publications that can be updated via wireless data transfer.
- It is extremely translucent, so in coming years you can also able to fit intelligent windows to your home, with virtual curtains or displaying projected images of your choice.
- The use of Graphene flakes makes the printed material more conductive and therefore more efficient. Can you imagine a car security system that is connected to paint on your car? Not only your car alarm would be able to tell if someone is touching your car, it would also record that information and send it to you via your smartphone. It can also be used in investigation of vehicle accidents.
- Graphene on photon absorption generates multiple electrons and it can work on all the wavelengths unlike silicon. Graphene based photo voltaic cells are flexible and thin and can be used in clothing so we would be able to charge our mobile telephones and tablets in seconds while going to work.
So finally we can hope that in future we will use form of carbon which will be more compact and intelligent as compare to now.
This Article was originally submitted by Ms. Prachi Sinha pursuing B.Tech in Electronics & Communication.