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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Graphene

All of us have used pencil for writing. The pencil's lead contains graphite. The molecular structure of graphite has one carbon atom bonded to three other carbon atoms in one plane, forming an hexagonal array of carbon atoms per layer(Figure). Layer after layers of such planes are stacked over one another and each carbon atom, the forces between the layers are weak, that's why they are quite slippery and used in pencils. 

So when we write using the pencil, some layers are deposited on the paper. However till recently it was difficult to separate a single layer. Hence we were not able to extract graphene for a long period of time. 

Now that we have graphene, we have discovered wonderful properties processed by it. It is a superconductor which means it conducts electricity with very little resistance. It is 100 times stronger than steel. 

Scientists are looking forward to use Graphene as the material for supercapacitor. The supercapacitor will replace lithium ion batteries in the future and the would charge up very fast. The supercapacitors will be cheaper and provide an ideal energy storage solution for electric cars, offgrid solar powered homes etc. 

Honeycomb Lattice of Graphene.

Scientists are exploring ways to do different things with graphene according to this article, scientists have managed to make lens from graphene so thin that its thickness is 300 times less than the thickness of paper. With this lens it is possible to have data communications at the speed of light. 

This lens can also be used in nanosatellites that would reduce weight and focus better on earth. The lens weighs about 1 microgram. 

Microprocessors made from silicon and germanium have almost reached their highest possible clock speeds. Increasing clockspeed of microprocessors will result in heating and melting of the tiny circuits. In the future graphene is expected to solve this problem. Microprocessors made from graphene will not melt, even at very high clock speeds. So we can have even more faster processors in the future. 

Recently researchers at University of Glasgow have produced the material at a 100 times lesser cost, making graphene cheaper and increasing its potential usage in different different feilds . Scientists have also made a nanometre thick graphene film. It can absorb 95% of the light incident on it, making it the most light absorbent material on earth. 

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