Graphene is a 2-dimensional (one atom thick) structure of graphite, composed of carbon atoms tightly bonded together in a hexagonal lattice. These physical properties give graphene an extraordinary combination of high strength, low weight, high thermal and electrical conductivity.
The firm Graphena is a commercial graphene supplier. Their website is a good source of information regarding graphene technology. Basic graphene properties are explained at the following link:
A description of expected graphene applications is at the following link:
These potential applications include:
- Biological engineering: bioelectric sensory devices, antibiotic / anti-cancer treatment, tissue regeneration
- Optical electronics: rollable e-paper, flexible electronic components and displays
- Ultrafiltration: water purification, desalination, biofuel manufacturing
- Composite materials: higher-strength, lower-weight replacement for current carbon fiber composites in aircraft and other vehicle structures, body armor
- Photovoltaic cells: cost-effective, high-efficiency replacement for silicon solar cells in current applications, and new applications for flexible PV cells such as window screens and installations on curved surfaces.
- Energy storage: higher-capacity supercapacitors and batteries
A key limitation to developing graphene applications has been the relatively high cost of manufacturing graphene. Presently, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is the process commonly used to manufacture high-quality graphene on a large scale. A breakthrough in lower-cost CVD manufacturing technology recently was announced by the firm Carbon Sciences, Inc. and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). You can read more about this announcement at the following link:
The era of industrial application of graphene appears to be a step closer to realization.