Navigation Links
Penn physicists develop scalable method for making graphene
Date:3/2/2011

PHILADELPHIA New research from the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates a more consistent and cost-effective method for making graphene, the atomic-scale material that has promising applications in a variety of fields, and was the subject of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

As explained in a recently published study, a Penn research team was able to create high-quality graphene that is just a single atom thick over 95% of its area, using readily available materials and manufacturing processes that can be scaled up to industrial levels.

"I'm aware of reports of about 90%, so this research is pushing it closer to the ultimate goal, which is 100%," said the study's principal investigator, A.T. Charlie Johnson, professor of physics. "We have a vision of a fully industrial process."

Other team members on the project included postdoctoral fellows Zhengtang Luo and Brett Goldsmith, graduate students Ye Lu and Luke Somers and undergraduate students Daniel Singer and Matthew Berck, all of Penn's Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences.

The group's findings were published on Feb. 10 in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

Graphene is a chicken-wire-like lattice of carbon atoms arranged in thin sheets a single atomic layer thick. Its unique physical properties, including unbeatable electrical conductivity, could lead to major advances in solar power, energy storage, computer memory and a host of other technologies. But complicated manufacturing processes and often-unpredictable results currently hamper graphene's widespread adoption.

Producing graphene at industrial scales isn't inhibited by the high cost or rarity of natural resources a small amount of graphene is likely made every time a pencil is used but rather the ability to make meaningful quantities with consistent thinness.

One of the more promising manufacturing techniques is CVD, or chemical vapor deposition, which involves blowing methane over thin sheets of metal. The carbon atoms in methane form a thin film of graphene on the metal sheets, but the process must be done in a near vacuum to prevent multiple layers of carbon from accumulating into unusable clumps.

The Penn team's research shows that single-layer-thick graphene can be reliably produced at normal pressures if the metal sheets are smooth enough.

"The fact that this is done at atmospheric pressure makes it possible to produce graphene at a lower cost and in a more flexible way," Luo, the study's lead author, said.

Whereas other methods involved meticulously preparing custom copper sheets in a costly process, Johnson's group used commercially available copper foil in their experiment.

"You could practically buy it at the hardware store," Johnson said.

Other methods make expensive custom copper sheets in an effort to get them as smooth as possible; defects in the surface cause the graphene to accumulate in unpredictable ways. Instead, Johnson's group "electropolished" their copper foil, a common industrial technique used in finishing silverware and surgical tools. The polished foil was smooth enough to produce single-layer graphene over 95% of its surface area.

Working with commercially available materials and chemical processes that are already widely used in manufacturing could lower the bar for commercial applications.

"The overall production system is simpler, less expensive, and more flexible" Luo said.

The most important simplification may be the ability to create graphene at ambient pressures, as it would take some potentially costly steps out of future graphene assembly lines.

"If you need to work in high vacuum, you need to worry about getting it into and out of a vacuum chamber without having a leak," Johnson said. "If you're working at atmospheric pressure, you can imagine electropolishing the copper, depositing the graphene onto it and then moving it along a conveyor belt to another process in the factory."


'/>"/>

Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Physicists isolate bound states in graphene-superconductor junctions
2. UCSB physicists challenge classical world with quantum-mechanical implementation of shell game
3. Physicists take new look at the atom
4. Rice physicists discover ultrasensitive microwave detector
5. UC Riverside physicists pave the way for graphene-based spin computer
6. UBC, Max Planck formalize partnership among worlds top quantum physicists
7. Physicists capture first images of atomic spin
8. U-M physicists create first atomic-scale map of quantum dots
9. Physicists at UC Santa Barbara make discovery in quantum mechanics
10. NYU physicists find way to explore microscopic systems through holographic video
11. Nanophysicists find unexpected magnetic effect
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Okyanos Cell Therapy has announced Tallahassee, FL will be the ... “Stem Cell Therapy: The Next Phase in the Evolution of Medicine.” As the Bahamas’ ... and Therapy Act, Okyanos maintains a mission to help “no-option” patients and those ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... peristaltic pump with patented ReNu single-use (SU) cartridge technology. Engineered by the ... feed pumps in SU tangential flow filtration (TFF), virus filtration (VF) and ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017  Personal Genome Diagnostics Inc. ... testing contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans ... assay with the company,s new CancerSELECT ™ ... actionable pan-cancer profiling test that includes microsatellite instability ... patient response to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies. CancerSELECT 125 ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... , ... March 20, 2017 , ... ... pharmaceutical and biotech companies, recently announced it will debut a brand new pressure ... City. The intelliVessel is controlled by a touch screen panel and features other ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions ... serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of ... director of public safety business development. Mr. ... enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation transportation ... most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... Australia , March 9, 2017 ... the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop at the University ... , was invited to deliver the latest data to ... globally recognised event brings together leaders at the forefront ... developments in lung imaging. "The quality ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... 2017 Summary This report provides all ... partnering interests and activities since 2010. ... Read the full report: ... 2010 report provides an in-depth insight into the partnering activity ... On demand company reports are prepared upon purchase to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):