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Grephen: The Magical Carbon

Grephene is the thinnest substance ever made. It is as stiff as diamond and hundreds of times stronger than steel. Yet at the same time is extremely flexible, even stretchable. It conducts electricity faster at room temperature than any other known material and it can convert light of any wavelength into a current.

Since Graphene was first isolated, researches have proposed dozens of potential applications, from faster computer chips and flexible touch-screen to hyper-efficient solar cells and desalination membranes.

To get current moving through any crystal, electrons must first clear a hurdle called ‘The Band Gap’. The energy required to knock them loose from individual atoms and set them free to roam. Insulating materials have a large band gap, meaning that electrons tend to be tightly bound to the atoms and need a huge kick to start moving. Semiconductors such as Silicon and Germanium have a much smaller band gap, so only a little jolt of energy is required. Metal have no band gap at all, they are great conductors because at least some of their electrons are always free. But Grephene sits right on the boundary, blessed with and infinitesimally small band gap that helps current to zip across its interlocking hexagons 100 to 200 times faster than it can move through Silicon.

This combination of abilities make Graphene a promising candidate for converting photon into electrical signals. Grephene`s most obvious optical property is, it`s transparency. Samsung and other Asian companies are developing transparent graphene electrodes to serve as smartphone touch-screen. Other big companies like IBM, Nokia, Airbus are also investing their money in the field of research on Graphene.

Graphene is complicated and expensive to make in large industrial level. Most research laboratories still make Graphene using the method given by Andre Gein and Konstantin in 2004. Who got the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies. But this method is too much slow for industrial scale production. There will be no graphene computer chips, sensors or solar cells without a steady supply of Graphene. One of the biggest challenges is to find more economical and reliable ways to produce high quality sheets of the material. And even if it`s production were good, there are no well established industrial methods for handling something so thin or for integrating it with other materials to create useful products.

Europe faces stiff competition from Asia in the race to commercialize Graphene. Although the European Union leads the world in academic publications on the materials, 15 of the top 20 global graphene patent-holders are Chinese, Japanese and South Korean companies and Universities. Some Chinese manufactures say that mobile devices bearing graphene touchscreen will hit the market next year.

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Abhaykirti Ramawat

Student

Madhya Pradesh ,  INDIA


I am a student. Pursuing post graduation in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Ujjain (MP).  I am an optimistic team worker, friendly, flexible. A person with creative mind, who always wants to do something new and challenging work.

I have basic knowledge of photoshop and I am very much comfortable in working with net. I read books and write blogs. Other than these I take interest in Bicycling, Movies, Photography, Cricket and Making Ice Cream.

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