Scientists find simple way to produce graphene

June 20th, 2011 in Nanotechnology / Nanomaterials
Amartya Chakrabarti holds up a sample of graphene produced via the dry-ice method. Credit: Scott Walstrom, Northern Illinois University


Amartya Chakrabarti holds up a sample of graphene produced via the dry-ice method. Credit: Scott Walstrom, Northern Illinois University

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at Northern Illinois University say they have discovered a simple method for producing high yields of graphene, a highly touted carbon nanostructure that some believe could replace silicon as the technological fabric of the future.

The focus of intense scientific research in recent years, graphene is a two-dimensional material, comprised of a single layer of arranged in a . It is the strongest material ever measured and has other remarkable qualities, including high , a property that elevates its potential for use in high-speed nano-scale devices of the future.

In a June communication to the Journal of Materials Chemistry, the NIU researchers report on a new method that converts carbon dioxide directly into few-layer graphene (less than 10 atoms in thickness) by burning pure magnesium metal in .

"It is scientifically proven that burning magnesium metal in carbon dioxide produces carbon, but the formation of this carbon with few-layer graphene as the major product has neither been identified nor proven as such until our current report," said Narayan Hosmane, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry who leads the NIU research group.

"The synthetic process can be used to potentially produce few-layer graphene in large quantities," he said. "Up until now, graphene has been synthesized by various methods utilizing and tedious techniques. This new method is simple, green and cost-effective."

Hosmane said his research group initially set out to produce single-wall carbon nanotubes. "Instead, we isolated few-layer graphene," he said. "It surprised us all."

"It's a very simple technique that's been done by scientists before," added Amartya Chakrabarti, first author of the communication to the and an NIU post-doctoral research associate in chemistry and biochemistry. "But nobody actually closely examined the structure of the carbon that had been produced."

More information: pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articl… g/2011/jm/c1jm11227a

Provided by Northern Illinois University

"Scientists find simple way to produce graphene." June 20th, 2011. http://phys.org/news/2011-06-scientists-simple-graphene.html