Science News

Making Graphene

Sun, 19th Apr 2009

A material which is showing a huge amount of promise is areas ranging from new forms of high speed electronics to transparent contacts for solar cells and displays is Graphene. This consists of one or two atomic layers of Graphite, it is transparent, and electrical signals move through it much faster than in silicon. One of the major problems in using graphene is that manufacturing it in a controlled way is very difficult.

GrapheneSo far the normal method has involved peeling off a layer of Graphene a piece of sellotape. This is somewhat of an art and leaves the graphene permanently stuck to the tape and tends to damage the graphene.

Abhay Shukla from Pierre and Marie University in Paris has come up with a new approach which may work. He is using a technique called anionic bonding which has been used in the past to stick glass to silicon wafers. This works by putting the graphite on a very clean piece of glass. The negatively charged ions diffuse into the graphite better than the positively charged ions. This means that the lowest layers of the graphite become negatively charged and are strongly attracted to the now positively charged glass pulling the two of them together furthering the attraction between them.

It hasn't been used for attaching graphite before, because graphite is layerd and shears off a few layers. Ths was however exactly what is needed to produce a very high quality layer of graphene. So far they have made pieces up to 1mm across although they are working on improving the areas available.


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