Bulk Chemical Production Process Applied to Graphene

Industrial scale production of graphene could open up application areas

1 min read
Bulk Chemical Production Process Applied to Graphene

When graphene was first reported just six years ago one of the knocks against it was that it was difficult to produce in sufficient quantities to have a significant impact on commercial applications.

But now researchers from Rice University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new method for producing bulk quantities of graphene.

The researchers work has been published in the Journal Nature Nanotechnology and has demonstrated how the common industrial solvent chlorosulphonic acid can be used on graphite so that individual layers in the graphite peeled away spontaneously.

According to the lead co-author of the Nature article, Matteo Pasquali, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry at Rice University, this method produces a very pure material while employing the bulk fluid-processing techniques commonly used by the chemical industry.

The process produced two grams of graphene per liter of acid, which is a result that is about 10 times more concentrated than existing methods. With these concentrated solutions, the researchers were able to make transparent films that were electrically conductive.

By improving the production yield for graphene and being able to make transparent films from the results, the researchers see applications brightening for graphene in areas ranging from less expensive touch screens on smart phones to creating fibers that could strengthen composite materials.

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Emily Cooper

Perhaps the most far-reaching technological achievement over the last 50 years has been the steady march toward ever smaller transistors, fitting them more tightly together, and reducing their power consumption. And yet, ever since the two of us started our careers at Intel more than 20 years ago, we’ve been hearing the alarms that the descent into the infinitesimal was about to end. Yet year after year, brilliant new innovations continue to propel the semiconductor industry further.

Along this journey, we engineers had to change the transistor’s architecture as we continued to scale down area and power consumption while boosting performance. The “planar” transistor designs that took us through the last half of the 20th century gave way to 3D fin-shaped devices by the first half of the 2010s. Now, these too have an end date in sight, with a new gate-all-around (GAA) structure rolling into production soon. But we have to look even further ahead because our ability to scale down even this new transistor architecture, which we call RibbonFET, has its limits.

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