Graphene and graphExeter combine to create a new flexible, transparent, photosensitive device

April 19, 2013
Grafene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Smart electronics are taking the world by storm. From techno-textiles to transparent electronic displays, the world of intelligent technology is growing fast and a revolutionary new device has just been added to its ranks. Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed a new photoelectric device that is both flexible and transparent. The device, described in a paper in the journal ACS Nano, converts light into electrical signals by exploiting the unique properties of the recently discovered materials graphene and graphExeter. GraphExeter is the best known room temperature transparent conductor and graphene is the thinnest conductive material.

At just a few atoms thick, the newly developed photoelectric device is ultra-lightweight. This, along with the flexibility of its constituent materials, makes it perfect for incorporating into clothing. Such devices could be used to develop photovoltaic textiles enabling clothes to act as solar panels and charge mobile phones while they are being worn.

Photosensitive materials and devices such as the one developed at Exeter can, in the future, also be used for intelligent windows that are able to harvest electricity and display images while remaining transparent. Smart materials have almost unlimited potential applications from integral iPods and keyboards in clothing to on glasses and goggles.

Saverio Russo, Professor of Physics at the University of Exeter said: "This new flexible and transparent photosensitive device uses graphene and graphExeter to convert light into with efficiency comparable to that found in opaque devices based on graphene and metals.

"We are only just starting to explore the interfaces between different materials at very small scales and, as this research shows, we are revealing unique properties that we never knew existed. Who knows what surprises are just around the corner."

in smart materials typically cause a haze that prevents them from being truly transparent. The photosensitive device developed at Exeter contains no metals and is therefore completely transparent but, as it can detect light from across the whole visible light spectrum, it is as efficient at sensing light as other recently developed opaque photoelectric devices.

Explore further: Toward 'invisible electronics' and transparent displays

Related Stories

Toward 'invisible electronics' and transparent displays

February 5, 2009

Researchers in California are reporting an advance toward the long-sought goal of "invisible electronics" and transparent displays, which can be highly desirable for heads-up displays, wind-shield displays, and electronic ...

Nanometer Graphene Makes Novel OLEDs Display

March 10, 2010

Researchers at Stanford University have successfully developed brand new concept of organic lighting-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a few nanometer of graphene as transparent conductor. This paved the way for inexpensive mass ...

New options for transparent contact electrodes

January 29, 2013

Found in flat screens, solar modules, or in new organic light-emitting diode (LED) displays, transparent electrodes have become ubiquitous. Typically, they consist of metal oxides like In2O3, SnO2, ZnO and TiO2.

Recommended for you

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

July 29, 2015

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world's highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab's Molecular ...

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

July 24, 2015

Researchers at the University of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant ...

Wafer-thin material heralds future of wearable technology

July 27, 2015

UOW's Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) has successfully pioneered a way to construct a flexible, foldable and lightweight energy storage device that provides the building blocks for next-generation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.