Researchers successfully grow defect-free graphene, commercial uses now in sight

By John Hewitt on February 4, 2013 at 10:59 am

The imagined industrial applications for graphene are currently constrained by two things — cost and quality. There is no concrete roadmap to predict how quickly graphene-based devices will become available and how common they will be. The quality of a sample of graphene depends not only on purity but also on the nature of defects in the geometry. A new method to control the orientation, edge geometry, and thickness of vapor-deposited graphene has just been discovered by a pan-European group of researchers. With continued advances and some newly announced funding initiatives graphene’s full potential as a commercial material is now beginning to come into focus.

The legendary strength of graphene is a strict function of the quality of the sample. It is often said to have a strength 300 times that of steel however strength is a really nebulous way to define a material. There is strength in tension, compression, hardness, toughness and fatigue just to name a few. What we really need to know for a sheet of graphene is how many elephants it can carry. Fortunately some researchers have estimated this from experiments in which they indented a sample of it with an atomic force microscope probe. They determined that a sheet the thickness of Saran wrap would support an elephant poised atop a pencil, in turn standing on the sheet.

Read more: Researchers successfully grow defect-free graphene, commercial uses now in sight | ExtremeTech.

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