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What Makes Graphene a Highly Promising Material for Electronic Devices

By J_Alves (OpenClipArt) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

By J_Alves (OpenClipArt) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

Briefly defined, graphene is a planar sheet of carbon atoms with a one-atom thickness packed in a honeycomb crystal arrangement. It is a form of pure carbon that is incredibly thin but relatively very durable. It had been decades since scientists thought about its existence but it became a reality only in 2004, as it was successfully produced in a laboratory.

Now, graphene is being used or planned to be used in a number of notably advanced applications. These applications include the production of lightweight ultracapacitor that can charge the batteries of electronic devices in a matter of seconds and the production of transparent memory chips. Graphene has been dubbed as the wonder material. Its excellent properties allow it to address certain needs and applications that other materials are not capable of dealing with.

There are at least 6 properties that make it a very desirable material. As technologies advanced to make graphene production less expensive, it is believed that graphene is bound to introduce innovations or even a revolution especially when it comes to tech gadgets or devices.

 

Extreme Durability

Graphene is now considered as the strongest, slimmest, and most malleable material known to man. Unlike diamond, though, it is not brittle. It is a form of carbon but it is malleable. This material is said to be around 200 times stronger than steel, a durability level made possible by the material’s unique two-dimensional sheet arrangement. Graphene is expected to revolutionize mobile devices, solar panels, and other devices.

Flexibility

Despite being highly durable, graphene is actually very flexible. Columbia University scientists reported that they have stretched graphene by as much as 20%. What this means is the possibility of producing electronic components that can be bent or flexed without wearing out. Graphene can be used to produce flexible mobile displays or components for wearable devices that are predisposed to constant flexing and bending.

 

By Ququ (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ququ (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Water Resistance

Graphene is also resistant to water. This makes it a very good component for devices that are expected to survive occasional to continuous exposure to water and moisture. With the ongoing trend of smartphones and mobile devices becoming IPX7 or IPX8 certified (water-resistant), having graphene is indeed a very welcome development. Likewise, graphene can be used for wearable devices that are bound to be exposed to be constantly exposed to moisture.

Ability to Shorten Charging Time

As mentioned, graphene can be used in producing an ultracapacitor that facilitates the lightning speed of battery charging. However, it is not only through ultracapacitors or supercapacitors that graphene can make battery charging time faster. Researchers at  New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that using “graphene paper,” it is possible to create batteries that charge quickly without the need for supercapacitors.

Extremely Low Mass Density

Great speakers need to have high frequency response rates. This high frequency response can be efficiently achieved by using a material that has low mass density but with high mechanical strength. That’s why using graphene in speakers means the production of speakers that can easily beat or at least match the performance of the best speakers in the world. As reported by Gizmag, a pair of graphene-based earbud speakers was able to outperform the Sennheiser MX-400 headphones, mainly in terms of frequency response curve.

Ability to Interact with the Human Body

Aside from being highly durable and flexible, graphene is also notable for being compatible and interactive with the human body. According to University of Manchester’s Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan, this material shows promise in interacting with biological systems. As such, graphene can be an excellent material for fitness trackers and other wearable or embeddable devices. Graphene can be used in producing sensors that can scan a living organism’s health at the cellular level. Moreover, graphene is also believed to become a good lens material and can be something that can be developed into a contact lens designed to provide thermal vision sans the bulky and unwieldy gear.

By Jynto [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jynto [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Technology is quickly progressing and graphene is just one of the many advancements the world has to be thankful for. Soon, various tech devices should become more durable, more flexible, more convenient to use, and better performing with graphene integrated into their systems or components. Graphene is even expected to have a significant role in the production of the world’s first “transparent” phone.

  • Claire

    learn a lot from it!