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

Apr 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 making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch

Related Stories

Nanometer Graphene Makes Novel OLEDs Display

Mar 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 ...

New options for transparent contact electrodes

Jan 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. ...

Toward 'invisible electronics' and transparent displays

Feb 05, 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 ...

Recommended for you

A nanosized hydrogen generator

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost ...

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

Sep 16, 2014

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

Sep 16, 2014

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

The future face of molecular electronics

Sep 16, 2014

The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, ...

User comments : 0