Paper graphene chips (microcircuits) are not a fiction
Researchers from the Iowa University named by Jonathan Klaussen (USA), who prefer to name themselves “nanoengineers”, conduct experiments to find opportunities of using graphene, thanks to its unique properties, in the sensor and other technologies created in laboratory. Thus, a technology is being developed that allows creating microprinted circuits from graphene, applying them with inkjet printer to paper. The method developed by researchers has a low cost, which is extremely important in various technological processes, because it helps to reduce the prices on real, working devices, in which such chips will be located.
What is graphene?
Graphene is an amazing and unique material, similar to a honeycomb made of carbon, which has the thickness of just one atom. Graphene is an ideal conductor of both electricity and heat, has high stability and durability. Nowadays, physicists and chemists are exploring the possibility due to which a laboratory sample can be put to practical use, while the study of material properties is extremely promising for use in many fields of radio electronic production.
The use of graphene in the fututre
This project, developed in the laboratories of the University, showed that it is possible to print multi-layer microprinted circuits and electrodes with the help of inkjet printers. As a result of the experiments, it was concluded that graphene can be used when it is necessary to create a flexible, inexpensive, portable electronics. But is it possible to make a graphene sensor (because it should be large enough)? At the moment, the only one problem exists. And it is in the nowadays’ technologies. Graphene for printing will increase the productivity, as well as the conductivity of the gadget, but for this it is necessary to apply a high-temperature chemical effect. And these processes will lead to deterioration in flexibility and damage of surfaces that will be printed (plastic tape, paper).
Based on these introductory data, scientists came to the conclusion that it is better to process graphene with a laser, printing multilayer graphene chips, electrodes, since such processing on a laser printer (laser generation having a pulsed regime) will increase the electrical conductivity, without damaging the paper, polymer and other fragile materials used for printing. Researchers believe that this method will open the way to the commercial production of graphene and devices with its use.
The results of the experiments were published by the journal “Nanoscale”. This research can be used in the future for the production of sensors, systems which accumulate energy power, electroconductive components, and, of course, electronics consisting of paper, cheap electromechanical graphene electrodes. Of course, such inexpensive components are very necessary in medicine, aircraft construction, and space industry.
How it works
The local process of processing graphene for laser printing changes the structural characteristic, as well as the shape of the chemical element: it goes from a planar shape to a three-dimensional nanostructure, with the graphene lattice in the 3-D structure similar to the rising petals. Such unevenness can increase the electromechanical properties of graphene, which in turn will expand the field of its application.