Breakthrough could push graphene into mass production
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 19 Jul 2011 at 11:46
Researchers have made a breakthrough in graphene manufacturing that could lead to mass production of the wonder material.
Graphene – a crystalline form of graphite tipped as a building block for future processors and networking equipment – has until now proved difficult to produce.
Manufacturing graphene has been hampered because the way that films of the material are grown results in irregular-shaped graphene grains of different sizes that are difficult to work with.
The researchers discovered that changing the recipe to include more hydrogen in the process resulted in a more uniform sheet of graphene that could be used in components. The new method results in hexagonal grains that should mesh together neatly.
"Our findings are crucial for developing a method for growing ultra-large-scale single domain graphene that will constitute a major breakthrough toward graphene implementation in real-world devices," said research leader Ivan Vlassiouk, of the US Department of Energy’s National Laboratory.
"Hydrogen not only initiates the graphene growth, but controls the graphene shape and size," Vlassiouk said.
Vlassiouk said that controlling grain size and shape would result in improved functionality of the material in transistors, semiconductors and storage.
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