A new way has been found for the "wonder material" that could change the world.

Experts say that the current production is “dirty,” but the new process could enable the material to be produced cleanly and on a large scale.
A new way has been found for the

Engineers have discovered a new way to produce graphene, potentially unlocking the full potential of the “wonder material.”

When it was discovered in 2004 by creating a single layer of carbon atoms, scientists hailed this material as a potential revolution. Experts said that graphene, which is highly conductive and incredibly strong, could change everything from energy storage to medical devices and personal electronics.

However, this potential has never been fully realized, partly due to the difficulty of producing it cleanly and on a large scale.

One of the challenges is producing it in a clean, pollution-free manner. But researchers say the new process allows graphene to be produced in a reducible and clean manner.

They did this based on the finding that the quality of graphene is linked to oxygen. Even a tiny amount of oxygen in the vicinity significantly affects the growth rate of graphene and may render it unusable.

Senior author James Hone from Columbia University said, “We show that removing almost all of the oxygen from the growth process is the key to obtaining repeatable, high-quality CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) graphene synthesis.”

This marks a milestone on the path to large-scale production of graphene.

Engineers traditionally produce graphene in two ways. In the first method, layers of a graphite piece are stripped away using tape until thin enough to be used as graphene. This produces clean but impractical samples on a very small scale for industrial use.

The other method, known as CVD growth, allows for much higher production. This process involves passing a carbon-containing gas like methane over a copper surface at incredibly high temperatures, causing methane to break down and forcing carbon atoms to rearrange into a layer of graphene.

This enables the production of graphene sheets up to meters in size. However, it brings along challenges regarding the reliability of their quality.

Researchers had already found that any oxygen in the process would slow it down and even corrode the graphene. Since then, engineers have been trying to establish new systems to control oxygen and prevent it from sabotaging the process.

Now scientists say they have significantly improved this process, enabling faster and more reliable growth of graphene. They found that the produced graphene also exhibits all the necessary behaviors for broad-scale use.

The study was reported in a new paper titled “Reproducible graphene synthesis by oxygen-free chemical vapor deposition,” published in the academic journal Nature.

Scroll to Top