15 Oct

Graphene

There are several ways to produce Graphene in the laboratory.  One way is  by heating a Silicon Carbide,  wafer to >1100°C in a furnace promoting epitaxial growth of the Graphene on the SiC wafer.  Another is chemical vapor deposition, CVD, in a tube furnace on a substrate such as nickel or copper foil.  The classic way is the “Scotch Tape method” or exfoliation where very pure graphite is placed on common adhesive tape. Another strip of tape is used to remove some of the graphite from the first – this process is repeated until a very thin layer of graphite remains and is pressed on the desired substrate.    Graphene is a 1 molecule sheet of graphite, a single atomic plane of graphite.  Graphene has a remarkably high electron mobility and the potential for resistivity as low as 10−6 Ω·cm.  This potential for very low resistivity promises many uses for Graphene including high frequency transistors and sensors for detecting substances on a molecular level.  Other properties of Graphene are a very high thermal conductivity and a breaking strength 200 time stronger than steel.  Studies on the properties and uses of Graphene are extensive and ongoing in dozens of fields.

Robin Prymula