Dr Sarah Haigh, from The University of Manchester's School of Materials, said: "The difference is that our slices are only around 100 atoms thick and this allows us to visualize the individual atomic layers of graphene in projection. ……. We plan to use this new side view imaging approach to improve the performance of our graphene devices."
Scientists at the University of Manchester, UK, where the UK’s National Graphene Institute is located, recently announced yet another materials handling advance that holds out the promise of great things ahead. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, or as they put it, “the method could open up a new dimension of physics.”
While at this stage it’s impossible to know where a new dimension in physics might lead, it’s the sort of dry announcement in science that greatly understates the potential. Science is continuing to build up the foundations of our new miracle age of carbon. Below the graphene cake, a new magnetic thermoelectric heat engine with no moving parts. I suspect heat engines will be to the 21st century, what the internal combustion engine was to the 20th century. Perhaps it's why China wants all their rare earths for themselves. It’s a great time to be following science.
Cutting the graphene cake
July 29, 2012 Researchers at the University of Manchester have demonstrated that graphene can be used as a building block to create new 3D crystal structures which are not confined by what nature can produce.
Sandwiching individual graphene sheets between insulating layers in order to produce electrical devices with unique new properties, the method could open up a new dimension of physics research. Writing in Nature Materials, the scientists show that a new side-view imaging technique can be used to visualize the individual atomic layers of graphene within the devices they have built. They found that the structures were almost perfect even when more than 10 different layers were used to build the stack. This surprising result indicates that the latest techniques of isolating graphene could be a huge leap forward for engineering at the atomic level. This development gives more weight to graphene's suitability as a major component in the next generation of computer chips. The researchers' side-view imaging approach works by first extracting a thin slice from the centre of the device. This is similar to cutting through a rock to reveal the geological layers or slicing into a chocolate gateaux to reveal the individual layers of icing.
Scientists move closer to new kind of thermoelectric 'heat engine'
July 11, 2012 by Pam Frost Gorder
Researchers who are studying a new magnetic effect that converts heat to electricity have discovered how to amplify it a thousand times over – a first step in making the technology more practical.
— The resulting voltages are admittedly tiny, but in this week's issue of the journal Nature, the researchers report boosting the amount of voltage produced per degree of temperature change inside the semiconductor from a few microvolts to a few millivolts – a 1,000-fold increase in voltage, producing a 1-million-fold increase in power. Joseph Heremans, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Nanotechnology, said that his team's ultimate goal is a low-cost and efficient solid-state engine that coverts heat to electricity. These engines would have no moving parts, would not wear out, and would be infinitely reliable, he added.
"It's really a new generation of heat engine," said Heremans, professor of mechanical engineering and professor of physics at Ohio State. "In the 1700s we had steam engines, in the 1800s we had gas engines, in the 1900s we had the first thermoelectric materials, and now we're doing the same thing with magnetics."