Graphene Produced 100 Times Cheaper With New Technique

First Posted: Nov 24, 2015 12:09 PM EST

Researchers have developed a new technique that produces large sheets of graphene through the use of a cheap copper material. This new method is capable of producing large-area graphene at a 100 times cheaper than other methods, according to a study at the University of Glasgow.

"Our process produces high-quality graphene at low cost, taking us one step closer to creating affordable new electronic devices with a wide range of applications, from the smart cities of the future to mobile healthcare," said Dr. Ravinder Dahiya, lead author of the study.

Graphene is produced through a common process known as chemical vapour deposition, (CVD). This process converts gaseous reactants into a film of graphene onto a surface known as a substrate.

In their study, the researchers applied a similar technique to produce a high quality graphene on the surface of copper foils, which are used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries. The smooth surface of the copper is an ideal base for the graphene to form.

The graphene that the researchers produced showed a major incline in electrical and optical performance of transistors, which was then compared to similar materials that were made from the typical process.

"The commercially-available copper we used in our process retails for around one dollar per square metre, compared to around $115 for a similar amount of the copper currently used in graphene production," Dahiya said. "This more expensive form of copper often required preparation before it can be used, adding further to the cost of the process.

Producing graphene could be a relatively expensive and tedious process for researchers and manufacturers. Dahiya and his team's new technique could pave the way for a wide range of technologies to be developed.

"It's a very exciting discovery and we're keen to continue our research," Dahiya said.

The findings of this study were published in Scientific Reports.

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