Graphene News & Updates

Graphene – The Coming of The Carbon Age.

Though I don’t get the chance to follow developments in the 21st century miracle material graphene on a daily basis anymore, I still try to tag along on a  weekly basis. A new carbon age is dawning, just as the bronze age replaced the stone age, and the iron age replaced the bronze age.  Below some recent developments in graphene and related technologies. I will try to post updates weekly.

Low cost, scalable water splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy

Date: May 31, 2017

Source: Penn State Materials Research Institute

Summary: An efficient, low-cost catalyst could replace platinum in water-splitting for clean hydrogen production.

The "clean energy economy" always seems to be a few steps away but never quite here. Most energy for transportation, heating and cooling and manufacturing is still delivered using fossil fuel inputs. But with a few scientific breakthroughs, hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, could be the energy carrier of a future clean energy society. Taking one step closer toward the elusive goal, a team of scientists from Penn State and Florida State University have developed a lower cost and industrially scalable catalyst to produce pure hydrogen through a low-energy water-splitting process.

Graphene and Quantum Dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

CFO develops the first graphene-quantum dot based CMOS integrated camera, capable of imaging visible and infrared light at the same time. Over the past 40 years, microelectronics has advanced by leaps and bounds thanks to silicon and CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors) technology, making possible computing, smartphones, compact and low-cost digital cameras, as well as most of the electronic gadgets we rely on today. However, the diversification of this platform into applications other than microcircuits and visible light cameras has been impeded by the difficulty to combine semiconductors other than silicon with CMOS.

This obstacle has now been overcome.

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable

Date: May 24, 2017

Source: Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

Summary: An international research team has for the first time investigated the optical properties of three-dimensional nanoporous graphene at the IRIS infrared beamline of the BESSY II electron storage ring. The experiments show that the plasmonic excitations (oscillations of the charge density) in this new material can be precisely controlled by the pore size and by introducing atomic impurities. This could facilitate the manufacture of highly sensitive chemical sensors.


Gas gives laser-induced graphene super properties

Inexpensive material can be superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic

Date: May 15, 2017
Source: Rice University
Summary: Introducing gas to fabrication changes the water-reacting properties of laser-induced graphene, making it either superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic.

Sat May 6, 2017 | 7:20pm EDT

Australian push may open more doors for batteries on power grids

Battery makers worldwide are watching to see whether Australia's most wind power-dependent state can keep the lights on by installing grid-scale batteries by December, which could help drive the growth of renewable energy across Australia and Asia.
A decade-long political stalemate in Australia over energy and climate policy has effectively led to power and gas shortages and soaring energy prices threatening industry and households.
If batteries help solve Australia's problems by storing surplus electricity generated by wind and solar power, countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Chile, could follow suit.
"I call South Australia the 'perfect storm' opportunity for energy storage," said Ismario Gonzalez, global sales director for AES Energy Storage, an arm of U.S. firm AES Corp, which has installed or is working on battery projects in seven countries, including Australia.

Fast, non-destructive test for two-dimensional materials

Date: April 28, 2017
Source: Penn State Materials Research Institute
Summary: A fast, nondestructive optical method for analyzing defects in two-dimensional materials has been developed, with applications in electronics, sensing, early cancer diagnosis and water desalination.

Eneco and Mitsubishi Plan Europe’s Largest Battery, Pitching Storage Against Coal and Gas

After considering the project for two years, lithium-ion battery costs finally hit the right price point.
by Jason Deign April 24, 2017
Dutch developer Eneco and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi are developing a record-breaking battery designed for Germany’s primary reserve market, which will compete against coal and gas units.
The two companies have formed a German joint venture, Enspire ME, to develop what will be Europe’s largest battery plant, with 48 megawatts and 50 megawatt-hours of capacity, in Jardelund, Schleswig-Holstein, close to Germany’s border with Denmark.
The location is a nexus for offshore wind farm energy transmission. Enspire ME has already been granted a permit for the project and expects to start construction at the beginning of June. The plant is due to be up and running by December.

Making batteries from waste glass bottles

Researchers are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics

Date: April 19, 2017
Source: University of California - Riverside
Summary: Researchers have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops.

Researchers 'iron out' graphene's wrinkles

New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers

Date: April 3, 2017

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Summary:  Engineers have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers tested its electrical conductivity. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.

3 April 2017

Graphene sieve turns seawater into drinking water

Graphene-oxide membranes have attracted considerable attention as promising candidates for new filtration technologies. Now the much sought-after development of making membranes capable of sieving common salts has been achieved.
New research demonstrates the real-world potential of providing clean drinking water for millions of people who struggle to access adequate clean water sources.
The new findings from a group of scientists at The University of Manchester were published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Previously graphene-oxide membranes have shown exciting potential for gas separation and water filtration.

New ultrafast flexible and transparent memory devices could herald new era of electronics

Date: March 31, 2017
Source: University of Exeter
Summary: An innovative new technique to produce the quickest, smallest, highest-capacity memories for flexible and transparent applications could pave the way for a future golden age of electronics.
Engineering experts from the University of Exeter have developed innovative new memory using a hybrid of graphene oxide and titanium oxide. Their devices are low cost and eco-friendly to produce, are also perfectly suited for use in flexible electronic devices such as 'bendable' mobile phone, computer and television screens, and even 'intelligent' clothing.

Built from the bottom up, nanoribbons pave the way to 'on-off' states for graphene

Date: March 30, 2017
Source: DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary: A new way to grow narrow ribbons of graphene, a lightweight and strong structure of single-atom-thick carbon atoms linked into hexagons, may address a shortcoming that has prevented the material from achieving its full potential in electronic applications. Graphene nanoribbons, mere billionths of a meter wide, exhibit different electronic properties than two-dimensional sheets of the material. 

The Future of Solar Energy

An Interdisciplinary MIT Study led by the MIT Energy Initiative
May 5, 2015
This study is the latest in the MIT Energy Initiative's "Future of" series. Its predecessors have shed light on a range of complex and important issues involving energy and the environment.

Blu-Ray Disc Can be Used to Improve Solar Cell Performance

Data storage pattern transferred to solar cell increases light absorption

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Who knew Blu-ray discs were so useful? Already one of the best ways to store high-definition movies and television shows because of their high-density data storage, Blu-ray discs also improve the performance of solar cells — suggesting a second use for unwanted discs — according to new research from Northwestern University.

An interdisciplinary research team has discovered that the pattern of information written on a Blu-ray disc -- and it doesn’t matter if it’s Jackie Chan’s “Police Story 3: Supercop” or the cartoon “Family Guy” -- works very well for improving light absorption across the solar spectrum. And better yet, the researchers know why.

New class of 3-D-printed aerogels improve energy storage

April 22, 2015 DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Researchers have made graphene aerogel microlattices with an engineered architecture via a 3-D printing technique known as direct ink writing.
A new type of graphene aerogel will make for better energy storage, sensors, nanoelectronics, catalysis and separations.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have made graphene aerogel microlattices with an engineered architecture via a 3D printing technique known as direct ink writing. The research appears in the April 22 edition of the journal, Nature Communications.

Future electronics based on carbon nanotubes

April 7, 2015
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
A big barrier to building useful electronics with carbon nanotubes has always been the fact that when they're arrayed into films, a certain portion of them will act more like metals than semiconductors. But now researchers have shown how to strip out the metallic carbon nanotubes from arrays using a relatively simple, scalable procedure that does not require expensive equipment.

Scientists develop cool process to make better graphene

March 18, 2015  California Institute of Technology 
Summary: A new technique to produce graphene -- a material made up of an atom-thick layer of carbon -- at room temperature could help pave the way for commercially feasible graphene-based solar cells and light-emitting diodes, large-panel displays, and flexible electronics.

A new technique invented at Caltech to produce graphene--a material made up of an atom-thick layer of carbon--at room temperature could help pave the way for commercially feasible graphene-based solar cells and light-emitting diodes, large-panel displays, and flexible electronics.

Protons fuel graphene prospects

November 26, 2014  University of Manchester
Graphene, impermeable to all gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it researchers have found.
Published in the journal Nature, the discovery could revolutionise fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons -- hydrogen atoms stripped off their electrons -- to pass through.

In addition, graphene membranes could be used to sieve hydrogen gas out of the atmosphere, where it is present in minute quantities, creating the possibility of electric generators powered by air.

uel cells.

Quantum dot breakthrough could lead to cheap spray-on solar cells

By Dario Borghino June 10, 2014
Researchers at the University of Toronto have manufactured and tested a new type of colloidal quantum dots (CQD), that, unlike previous attempts, doesn't lose performance as they keep in contact with oxygen. The development could lead to much cheaper or even spray-on solar cells, as well as better LEDs, lasers and weather satellites.

A quantum dot is a nanocrystal made out of a semicondutor material which is small enough to take advantage of the laws of quantum mechanics. Quantum dots are at the center of a very new and rapidly evolving field of research, with the promise for applications in highly efficient solar cells, transistors and lasers, among other things.

A paper detailing the advance was published in the journal Nature Materials.
Source: University of Toronto

Improved supercapacitors for super batteries, electric vehicles

Date: May 19, 2014
Source: University of California - Riverside
Researchers have developed a novel nanometer scale ruthenium oxide anchored nanocarbon graphene foam architecture that improves the performance of supercapacitors, a development that could mean faster acceleration in electric vehicles and longer battery life in portable electronics.

'Soft' Approach Leads to Revolutionary Energy Storage: Graphene-Based Supercapacitors

Aug. 1, 2013 — Monash University researchers have brought next generation energy storage closer with an engineering first -- a graphene-based device that is compact, yet lasts as long as a conventional battery.

Published today in Science, a research team led by Professor Dan Li of the Department of Materials Engineering has developed a completely new strategy to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors (SC), making them viable for widespread use in renewable energy storage, portable electronics and electric vehicles.

SCs are generally made of highly porous carbon impregnated with a liquid electrolyte to transport the electrical charge. Known for their almost indefinite lifespan and the ability to re-charge in seconds, the drawback of existing SCs is their low energy-storage-to-volume ratio -- known as energy density. Low energy density of five to eight Watt-hours per litre, means SCs are unfeasibly large or must be re-charged frequently.

Professor Li's team has created an SC with energy density of 60 Watt-hours per litre -- comparable to lead-acid batteries and around 12 times higher than commercially available SCs.

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