Graphene is called the material of the future.
Nowadays, researchers are focus on the study of nanomaterials. They can be obtained from many different elements or chemical compounds, but scientists have paid attention in Carbon.
Graphene is an allotrope of Carbon. It present very interesting properties, because of its structure, such as impermeability, hardness, resistance, lightness and high conductivity which exceed cooper and silver.
It was discovered in 2004 by Andre Geim, who has been rewarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics (2010) for showing the implications in its behaviour in areas that go from the quantum physics until electronic consumptions.
It is considered the strongest material in all over the world. It is the thinnest and lightest material known until now. It is as light as carbon fiber, but even more resistant. A good point of this new material is that it does not damage the environment because it does not generate any harmful residue.
It has a bi-dimensional structure. The atoms are strongly joined in an uniform and plain surface with light waves of just one atom of thickness. Its configuration is like a honeycomb because of the hexagonal atomic configuration.
It is obtained from graphite, many methods are being studied but the main problem is the lack of one to produce in large-scale. It is commercialized in two ways: in a sheet form (best quality) and in powder form (less quality but cheaper).
Because of its properties, this material can be applied to many fields that can’t be even counted. The most promising ones are: Renewable energies (photovoltaic cells), electronic (ultrathin and flexible screens), new composite materials,water treatments (desalination).
However, apart from being this technology very promising in a new future in some fields, in other areas it still in investigation and it will require several years until come up some results.
Graphane is created just modifying graphene by adding hydrogen atoms in both sides of the matrix. The main difference between both is that grephene is a conductor whereas graphane is an insulating material. However, it maintains the mechanical properties.
Silicene is a Silicon sheet with an atomic thickness and with the same properties as graphene. It is said to be the substitute of it. It is said to be the substitute of it because it is easier to integrate this element to the industry due to the fact that it has been more studied and there is more knowledge of it.
Many companies and universities are investing in graphene because they have seen a future in it. Some examples are:
– Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), [U.S]
– IBM, [U.S]
– Graphenea, [Spain]
– BASF, [Germany]
– Carbon Solutions, Inc., [U.S]
– Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), [U.S]
– University South California (USC), [U.S]
– Quantum Materials Corp.
– Samsung Electronics, [South of Chorea]
– Sungkyukwan University Advanced Institute of Nano Technology, [South of Chorea]