Samsung says its engineers have developed a new method that could make wonder-material graphene easier and cheaper to produce
Samsung says its engineers are the first to use a new synthesis method that could speed up the commercialisation of graphene, paving the way for new categories of mobile devices, wearable technology and flexible displays.
Graphene is a ‘wonder-material’ which is one-atom thick and arranged in a hexagonal pattern. It is exceptionally strong, lightweight and flexible, while it also has conductive properties that allow electrons to glow up to 100 times faster than in silicon, the most widely used material in the semiconductor industry today.
It is possible that graphene will eventually replace silicon, but at present, growing sheets of graphene is a difficult and expensive process. There have been significant investments to commercialise the material, but engineers have struggled so far.
A method known as multi-crystal synthesis, which involves synthesising small particles of graphene to make larger quantities, spoils the electric and mechanical properties of the material, removing many of the benefits.
However, the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), through a partnership with Sungkyunkwan University, says its engineers are the first in the world to create a method to grow single crystal graphene into a large area.
“This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history,” said the laboratory leaders at SAIT’s Lab, whose research has been published in the scientific journal, Science Magazine and Science Express “We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialisation of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology.”
The research was funded by South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), making it but one of a number of government studies into graphene. The European Union has made the research of the material a priority and has promised a significant investment into the technology.
Graphene was first described in 1962, but actual samples were only produced in 2004 by researchers Geim and Novoselov from the University of Manchester. The UK government is concerned that it might fall behind Asia in graphene development has pledged public money into its research. The University of Cambridge is also keen to take advantage and announced the establishment of a £25 million graphene research centre last year.
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