Graphene: A Thin Layer Of Endless Possibilities

1337 words - 6 pages

Mankind naturally strives the most efficient, practical, and useful things that they can make. We desire the thinnest smartphones, mass storage of things such as books and music, the fastest and smallest cars at the same time, and we desire to read books at incredible speeds. We are constantly bettering ourselves and the world around us so that we can get things done quicker and we can get them done in an easier fashion. In short, we strive for the most efficiency in the smallest amount of time or the smallest amount of space. Although we achieve this goal of efficiency in a small amount of space in things such as smart-phones and cars such as the smart-car, we are only just breaking the ...view middle of the document...

Graphene was discovered in a rather unusual way relative to Chemistry. It was not discovered with high tech scanning tunneling microscopes, it was not discovered with any really expensive lab equipment, but it was rather discovered with something that we all have access to in our own homes, scotch tape. Scotch tape was used with Graphite to discover graphene. The process to discovering graphene began when scientists at the University pulled graphite apart until the sample couldn’t get any thinner, and then they had a breakthrough. They used scotch tape, put it on the graphite samples, and peeled it off, leaving graphite flakes on the tape. They kept doing this peeling the graphite flakes off of the tape with different tape until they were left with the thinnest layer possible. They were left with a one-atom thick, almost transparent sheet of what we have come to know as Graphene.4
Upon discovering graphene in the laboratory, the scientists also discovered its unique and amazing properties. “Graphene conducts electricity as efficiently as copper”5, which allows for endless possibilities in the growing field of technology; graphene is the best known conductor of heat in the universe; graphene is one of the strongest materials on the planet; graphene is the thinnest material on the planet; graphene nearly transparent; and “graphene is so dense that even the smallest atom helium cannot pass through it.”6. All of these remarkable properties open up the door for graphene to be used in nearly every field that you can think of. The only problem with this amazing material is the fact that it is hard to mass produce a one-atom thick sheet of Carbon to be used in the endless possibilities that people think up for it.6
Although this allotrope of Carbon is a very, very thin sheet, its possibilities truly are larger and more abundant than any thick or large material that we know of. Graphene has the potential to be in used in everything from technology to medicine to alternative energy; it is just a matter of making it work for all of those things. Due to graphene's properties of electrical conductivity and transparency to light, it would be a very promising product to use in the alternative energy business. It could be used in solar panels that would be flexible, transparent, and cheap. These solar panels would be able to be used on almost anything due to their low cost and flexibility, they fitted around an entire car that would run completely off of solar power, they could be put on clothes that could charge your electronic devices, or they could be put on backpacks to charge your laptop while you walk to school. 7
Aside from the field of alternative energy, Graphene also has a bright future in the field of Medicine and Medical technology. It could be used in...

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