The GI Graphene Awards 2012
It is December 1, 2012 and time I thought, to cover the biggest and best of the advances in graphene research this year. Readers will notice that modestly I have lent my initials to the awards. With a new discovery or technology advance announced just about weekly in North America, Europe and Asia, we are somewhat spoiled for choice. Also, since my poor education took place many years ago in England, I can only read and speak English, some English say very poorly too, so unless a foreign language paper got translated into English, the chances are very high that I will have missed it. But with that caveat the GI nominations for the biggest graphene advances in our new Carbon Age in 2012 are:
My first nomination is from Rice University, Texas.
“Chemists have successfully grown forests of carbon nanotubes that rise quickly from sheets of graphene to astounding lengths of up to 120 microns.” By Rice University.
This was covered here on November 29, in “Nanotube Towers From Graphene.”
This 21st century hybrid of super-material graphene and carbon nanotubes, is believed to be completely unmatched as a conductive material. Seamlessly combined, the hybrid will revolutionise electronic components like fast supercapacitors that, because of the massive surface area, may hold a great deal of energy in a tiny package.
My second nomination is from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg:
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Scientists at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany together with a team from Swedish research institute Acreo AB, have successfully made a practical working semiconductor out of graphene. That’s important because silicon semiconductors have just about reached their physical in size reduction. To make faster chips, up until now it has all been about reducing the size and weight of silicon semiconductors. Because electrons move through graphene hundreds of times faster than through silicon, if graphene can successfully replace silicon in transistors, the same micro sized transistor can operate theoretically hundreds of time faster.
This was covered here on July 18, in “A Practical Working Graphene Semiconductor.” Dr. Quentin Ramasse, a leading UK expert on graphene research is suitably impressed:
“You read everywhere that graphene is magical for this reason and that, and it’s good to be reminded that you can put it in real devices and make it scalable and actually use it for technological applications,” he said. “That’s a very good step forward.”
My third nomination is from the University of Manchester, England:
“Graphene, an amazing material, has the potential to design wallpaper-thin lighting panels, foldaway mobile phones and sophisticated aircraft. This discovery of its superpermeability suggests that it can be used in the distillation of alcohol.”
Another day, and another new potential use for graphene announced, this time by scientists at the University of Manchester, England. No not that graphene can be used in the distillation of alcohol, greatly though that will be appreciated in Manchester, graphene is super-permeable with water. “According to another researcher, Dr Irina Grigorieva, this amazing characteristic of graphene can be used in cases where water alone has to be removed and all other ingredients be retained.”
“Professor Sir Andre Geim led the research team and demonstrated that membranes based on graphene do not permeate all vacuum-tight liquids and gases but water permeates in such a way that it seems as if the membrane was not present at all.”
This was covered here on January 30, in “Amazing Graphene.”
So now it is over to you the reader to pick the order of the awards.. Will it be futuristic water filtration, solving one of the planets biggest headaches, that of getting potable drinking water for the masses. The arrival of the graphene transistor and the end of the silicon age. Or will it be Rice University’s graphene-carbon nanotube hybrid that gives us, effectively, a very high surface area of more than 2,000 square meters per gram of material, heralding supercaps that can rival competing Li-ion batteries.
Feel free to add in any others that you think I’ve missed.
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