Graphene: The totally amazing wonder material that could revolutionize technology

“In the technology industry, every new product or service seems to come with the promise that it is an innovation with the potential to change the world. Graphene, a form of carbon, might actually do just that,” Katherine Noyes reports for Fortune. “‘Graphene is a wonderful material,’ Jeanie Lau, a professor of physics at the University of California at Riverside, told Fortune. ‘It conducts heat 10 times better than copper and electricity 100 times better than silicon, is transparent like plastic, extremely lightweight, extremely strong, yet flexible and elastic. In the past decade, it has taken the scientific and technology communities by storm, and has become the most promising electronic material to supplement or replace silicon.'”

“Graphene has already found its way into a number of compelling applications, Lau said. For instance, ‘since it is both transparent and electrically conductive — two attributes rarely found in the same material in nature — it has tremendous potential as the transparent electrode in monitors, displays, solar cells, and touch screens,’ she explained. ‘Companies such as Samsung that invest heavily in this area have already secured patents, produced prototypes, and are expected to bring products to market in a few years,'” Noyes reports. “First produced in a lab back in 2004, graphene is essentially a single layer of pure carbon atoms bonded together in a honeycomb lattice so thin it’s actually considered two-dimensional. ‘We generally regard anything less than 10 layers of graphene as graphene; otherwise, it’s graphite,’ said Aravind Vijayaraghavan, a lecturer in nanomaterials at the University of Manchester.”

“Use of graphene in semiconductors — the technology’s Holy Grail — is likely a decade away,” Noyes reports. “Still, the possibilities that graphene holds for the nearly $2 trillion global electronics industry are difficult to ignore. ‘Imagine a tiny chip, one-tenth the size of a postage stamp, that your doctor could use to test for all kinds of things,’ Michael Patterson, CEO of Graphene Frontiers, said. ‘You’d walk in, and instead of having to give three vials of blood to test for two things and then get the results the next day, your doctor could use one drop of blood to test for hundreds of things and you’d get the results right away. Graphene makes it possible.'”

Read more in the full article here.

46 Comments

    1. I remember the NY Times running a a huge article about 25 or more years ago about how thin man-made diamond film was going to revolutionize like every technology (including semi-conductors) on the face of the earth by the late 1990’s.

      Taking a bit…

    1. I hope so, and I hope everyone feels free to ignore those patents and use the technology for their own products with impunity. After all, how can you patent as somethings obvious and simple as a carbon atom?

      1. You’re right, you can’t.. The Patents in discussion here are for the processes for creating viable sheets/forms of the carbon material. Very similar to the Patents Samsung currently holds for the processes involved in chip manufacturing which gets licensed to TSMC and the like.

  1. That writer has been high on something wild.

    The article doesn’t disclose ANYTHING NEW as far as actual implementation in devices today. Nor does it touch on research results.

    Just because raw graphene has certain very desirable properties doesn’t mean it is magic, or quick, or usable on its own. Graphene is going to be in complex assemblies.

    Nano-sized particles of lots of metals and similar materials are bad for the body. We’ve been through the issues with silicosis and asbestos.

    1. Compared to some of the really POOR articles from this past week, at least this one is informative. At worst, I’d call this a filler article.

      Seriously, is the entire tech journalism and analcyst community on a cruise or something? This has to be one of the WORST periods of junk writing I can recall outside of August. Are these all interns writing this junk? Did someone assassinate all the professional writers? Aren’t I sounding like I’m caught in a Do Loop?

      I’m seriously sick of junk tech journalism.

    2. You’re part right – in that graphene has been known about for years, and there’s been no recent progress on the problem of actually producing the stuff without defects or in quantity.

      You nano-particle paranoia sounds way off though – it’s just carbon, there’s no metals or silica involved. You just don’t find people dying from the pure carbon in their graphite pencils or diamonds jewelry. Carbon is common to all life on earth, and it’s very low toxicity. To get ill effects, you would have to inhale massive quantities of carbon over a long period of time – which can be a problem for coal miners, but not someone just by using objects with carbon in them.

      1. and you think this graphene stuff will actually do as advertized, miniturize everything WITHOUT the other nasties in nano-forms? think again, there will need to be metals and other compounds just to make it glow for screens, connect to batteries for power, or even if no batteries, to make it photovoltaic

        we are part of a multi-pronged experiment, some prongs of which have already killed or injured many, many

        No paranoia, just ask the people with mesothelioma

        And you might want to look a little deeper before you call someone paranoid

  2. I love hyperbolic statements like this:
    ‘You’d walk in, and instead of having to give three vials of blood to test for two things and then get the results the next day, your doctor could use one drop of blood to test for hundreds of things and you’d get the results right away. Graphene makes it possible.’”

    There aren’t enough cells (and other factors) in a single drop of blood to test for hundreds of things. Many things that are tested for in blood (and new tests always coming on line) require the averaging over many, many cells to get accurate results. Additionally, many tests require the measurement of chemicals in the blood that exist at *extremely* low levels in the first place.

    Yes, we’ll see nearly real-time blood testing in the next couple of decades. Yes, it will take much, much less blood than current tests require. But, “hundreds of tests” from a single drop of blood — and have them be accurate enough to be worth anything? Not on your or my life!

    1. No more ridiculous than saying we will all be moving around in driverless cars inside of ten years, drones delivering parcels or computer screens projected into thin air any time soon and any number of other far exaggerated technology claims. It’s just the way of things trying to hype things up to get people excited about the potential of future developments.

    2. Didn’t “Bones” do this on Star Trek?

      He’d poke people with something and had it in his little hand held and be able to diagnose what was wrong with everyone immediately?

      I can see it now, Samdung will use that as “prior art” and try saying no one invented it, it’s just common knowledge.

      haha

    3. Hundreds of tests from a drop of blood? Not today.

      But not all that much further in the future; google about Theranos. They’re not there yet, but they are moving in that direction. (Assuming the FDA doesn’t kill them first.)

  3. I’ve said it before. I want an iPhone made out of pure Adamantium! I can drop it as many times as a want and no scratches, no dents, no nothing! That’s what Apple needs to build. 🙂

      1. That’s the metal mentioned in “The Core” that generates power the hotter it gets.. Don’t know how it applies to not hitting the ground. 😛

    1. One book I finished recently used nanobots to swiftly create anything the programmer could imagine. The book was called ‘The Diamond Age’ by genius Neal Stephenson. The title came from the fact that diamonds were easy to make, so easy that diamond window panes were standard among the wealthy.

      If graphene becomes standard, it could be both remarkable and a pain. What do you do with the discarded waste? Is it recyclable? Or is it permanent for all time?

    1. Hmmmm… I thought along the same lines when reading.

      Won’t the graphene be the circuit built on top of the same old (silicone) boards?

      Yes, I’m ignorant. Someone enlighten me. 🙂

    2. I’ve been keeping up with some of the recent articles regarding Graphene and it seems that depending on the substrates they use in conjunction with layers of graphene it becomes less conductive in specific areas. There is also research in how graphene changes conductivity based on the orientation of a magnetic source to the sheet of graphene. Another piece concerned the use of graphene to convert light to electrons for optical electronics use. LOTS of stuff about Graphene these days.. You just have to do a simple search. 😀

    1. Agreed.. I think the article is referencing a piece regarding Samsung and a Korean University making a breakthrough in the process of creating relatively viable graphene sheets that are wafer sized (think chip wafers). I suspect if the research proceeds at the current pace there may be something by the end of 2016 that may affect large portions of Samsung’s tech portfolio.

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