Science News

Graphene in mass market manufacturing

Sun, 5th Jan 2014

Mark Peplow

2014 could see the first mass-market products containing graphene – a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon arranged in a hexagonal ‘chickenwire’ pattern. It is as stiff as diamond and hundreds of times Graphenestronger than steel — yet at the same time is extremely flexible, even stretchable, and electricity zips through it like greased lightning.

In the decade since graphene was first isolated, a smattering of graphene-based products have made it to market. That could change as production costs fall and manufacturing quality improves this year. One potential application would see graphene replace the transparent, touch-sensitive indium tin oxide electrodes that cover smartphones (ITO is rather brittle, and indium is becoming more scarce).

Meanwhile, Europe’s Graphene Flagship project, which began late last year, will ramp up. This decade-long effort, backed by €1-billion in funding, hopes to take graphene from the laboratory bench to the factory floor. Researchers hope to develop graphene applications including various sensors, battery electrodes, strong composite materials, flexible electronics, water filtration devices, faster computer chips and more. And the UK is a key player: the National Graphene Institute at Manchester, and the Cambridge Graphene Centre, will be building new labs this year.


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How can touch screens still work when they are broken? I have seen many people with shattered screens on their phones, but they still work.... corky, Wed, 8th Jan 2014

The screens use a matrix of conductors that criss-cross the display; when a fingertip is applied, it alters the capacitance of the conductors that are contacted. The device registers on which conductors this change occurs in both the x and y direction. Since it knows where the two cross, this must where the finger is touching the screen.

So, even if the screen glass is broken and so long as the LCD isn't itself compromised, then the majority of the conductors remain intact so the device can still resolve where the screen is being touched. chris, Thu, 9th Jan 2014

I certainly feel so graphene will hit mass production. Graphene can be future of electronics and it's components. suffering from pois, Tue, 21st Jan 2014

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