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Graphene Sheets Get Easier To Manufacture 81

grunaura writes "South Korean researchers have devised a way to create graphene sheets one centimeter square using a hydrocarbon vapor on heated nickel. It's touted as being more efficient than the current process where graphene sheets are pressed, and there is evidence that 'the quality of graphene grown by chemical vapour deposition is as high as mechanically cleaved graphene.' Graphene is relatively new, but not to Slashdot. This round of news highlighting the technology focuses on the bendable nature of graphene sheets, as opposed to the memory applications or capacitive properties discussed here previously. These films are the closest we have come to superconductors at room temperature."
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Graphene Sheets Get Easier To Manufacture

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  • Enormous Potential (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tecker ( 793737 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @01:10AM (#26503487) Homepage
    This breakthrough has the same potential to do to graphine research as did mass production of nanotubes and other nanomaterials. The more readily available the more research can be done. As the price goes down more can get a hold of the material. Maybe we can finally create more powerful chips using this as a substrate.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @01:12AM (#26503495)
    Mention was made of its capacitive properties. If you could make continual graphene sheets, for example, and roll them up together with a similarly thin insulator, you could create supercapacitors that would charge almost instantly, yet still store enough charge, at high voltage, to blow off entire limbs if you were not careful... and still be not much bigger than the head of a pin.

    As long as heat dissipation was accounted for, you could charge an electric car in 5 minutes, and easily drive from Seattle to Los Angeles without stopping.

    So yeah... it's a pretty major thing. There are still other applications that could be astounding, like superstrong composites. Space elevator, anyone?

    Of course we care about superconductors, but this stuff will be incredible even if it hardly conducts at all.
  • Room temperature SC? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drolli ( 522659 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @01:57AM (#26503703) Journal

    A small disclaimer: i am working with low-temperature supercondutors, but i only use them in an application, i am not researching these.

    That said, i state my opinion from somebody who want to build sth out of superconductors: The hunt for a room temperature SC has consumed a lot of attention, money, and research time. It would be better to stop focusing on searching for a RT superconductor, and to stop telling everybody you want to do so. In 90% of the cases other properties of the SC prevent its widespread use. That is, because during the last 20 years cooling technology has made great progress. Nowadays, you can buy "press a button and a few hours later you are at 100mK" systems of the shelf, as well as hand held pulse coolers going down to 5K. For most applications, where superconductors would replace normal condutors, cooling is a big issue with normal conductors already. E.g. high field coils build with normal technolody consume incredible amounts of cooling water, which make cooling the same mass to a lower temperature, but much lower cooling power a very favorable idea. In electronics, air conditioners of computing centers now are already big.

    While i believe that graphene is one of the very promising new materials, i dont see it application as superconductor soon. My suggestion for the community would be not to blow out too much research time of this, but focus on the unique properties of the material. If as a byproduct, it turns out to a good SC, it will take 10-15more years to develop applications using it. Moreover, the continuous fantasy of the room temperature SC has worn off a lot of its glory since the first discoveries of HTSCs. The possible disappointment in funding agencies associated with even mentioning this is a dangerous thing. Otherwise i believe whatever you can with graphene, there is a load of really fascinating new physics to be done. But first telling "hey we are close to a room temperature SC" may take the attention of the referee and when reviewing you results, he may say: "you did not do what you promised" instead of "fascinating new science you did!". That is, because the referee is selected to be matching the field of the project. Would i work on graphene mono layers i would prefer to have a senior 2DEG guy as a referee instead on of the HT brewing alchemists (sorry, this is note meant negative - it just honors the fact that the HTC experimentalists are still out in the dark, because theorists did not yet come up with a conclusive theory...., most experimentalist in the field do great experiments with combining really cool analysis methods with great care and use a systematic way of exploring the parameter space of HTC materials, which is fascinating. I am not patient enough to do that.) .

  • by TakeyMcTaker ( 963277 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @07:10AM (#26504957)

    Isn't 1x1 cm already big enough to form an entire CPU chip when each transistor is only 1x10 atoms? []

    The South Korean method sounds like a build-up or additive process, to create a small graphene sheet. The Manchester transistor sounds like a subtractive process, to cut electron channels out of the graphene mesh. So can't they do each in order, and start making prototype atom-scale CPU's now? I guess they haven't figured out how to make the subtractive process targeted and repeatable yet, but this new larger sheet size sounds like a good place to start cutting!

  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @12:05PM (#26506407)

    This is a great paper, I've already tried this technique and it easily produces graphene.

    Strangely, this technique is not new. This paper kind of jump-started many memories in the field and it turns out that in the 1980s, people were already growing graphene with a method similar to this, and identified it as single layer graphite. There are even atomic resolution images of graphene from the early 90s. For a material "discovered" in 2004, that's kind of a shock. It turns out the word "graphene" didn't show up until 2004, and no one made good electrical devices until then.

    Graphene is not a room temperature superconductor... it's just the best room temperature conductor we've found. Nobody panic.

  • Samsung (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @12:41PM (#26506801)
    Anybody else notice that two of the researchers are from Samsung?

    I guess that's why the abstract focuses on the conductivity and the transparency of the material. Samsung very obviously wants to be the world number one in imaging and printing, and there is growing evidence that they are going to achieve it.

  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @01:58PM (#26507527) Homepage

    5 minutes is probably a bit unrealistic at the moment, but with an electric-based transportation system, we wouldn't have to adhere to current "refueling" patterns. with gasoline/diesel, you need expensive fuel storage & distribution facilities like gas stations, because gasoline has to be shipped by trucks and is somewhat dangerous to store.

    electricity is much cheaper to transport (just send it across electric lines, which are already in place and relatively cheap to build/maintain), does not need to be stored at refueling stations, and requires minimal equipment to distribute. so charging stations could be set up anywhere where there is electricity (which is pretty much everywhere)--you just need to install a socket that the vehicle can be plugged into.

    so whereas people currently have to drive to a gas station to refuel, electric vehicles could be charged wherever & whenever they're parked. there could be a handful of quick-charging stations around town where you go if you need your car charged immediately. but otherwise, people could simply charge their batteries while their car is parked at work, at home, or even at the mall or the grocery store.

    i mean, how many hours a day are you actually driving your car? i'd guess that most people have their cars parked close to 80-90% of the time on most days. that's 19-21 hours a day that your car would spend charging. if at home you only have access to a 7kW power supply, and at work you have a 15kW power supply, you should never have to spend any time actually waiting for your batteries to charge.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus