Samsung Reports Graphene Advance: Next Big Thing for Devices

Graphene is a wonder material that could dramatically change many industries, but it's been hard to manufacture. Now, scientists from Samsung Electronics say they have developed a method that could help fix that problem.

"We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialization of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology," the research team said in a statement.

The work was conducted by researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, in partnership with Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, and is published in Friday's issue of Science Magazine and Science Express.

An Elephant and Saran Wrap

Graphene's uniqueness is based on the fact that it is stronger than steel, has high heat conductibility, is flexible, and has much greater electron mobility than silicon.

The research team figured out a new way of creating large area, single crystal wafer scale graphene, growing it on a specially developed layer of germanium. The semiconductor industry has been propelled by growing the area of a silicon wafer. Multi-crystal graphene, in which smaller particles are synthesized to create large area sheets, damaged the material's electrical and mechanical properties.

There are a variety of possible applications for commercially available graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms patterned in a series of hexagons. This pattern helps to make it the strongest material on the planet, even though it is a million times thinner than paper. It's so strong, in fact, that a Columbia University professor once said that it would take an elephant "to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap."

Pencil lead is stacked graphene, and carbon nanotubes, used in bikes and a variety of other products, are made from rolled graphene. It wasn't until 2002 that researchers, led by Andre Geim at the University of Manchester in the U.K.,...

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