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Samsung's Graphene Research Could Advance Electronics

Apr 07, 2014 11:50 AM EDT

(Photo : Reuters )

Samsung Electronics recently announced that it has developed a technique that could help create large graphene sheets. The research is expected to help the electronic manufacturer use graphene on a commercial scale, especially in flexible electronics.

The research was conducted by scientists at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Sungkyunkwan University.

Graphene when stacked together is called graphite, which is found in pencils. In 2004 Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov found a way to isolate graphene from graphite. Their pioneering work on the material fetched them Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. The research also advanced the idea that graphene could end silicon's monopoly in semiconductors.

Graphene is more durable than steel, conducts electricity and is flexible. The material exists as 2D crystal, which is why scientists want to use it in future electronic devices.

One of the major problems of using graphene is that it exists in chunks rather than a single layer. And, scientists want a single sheet to develop newer class of electronics. The team at Samsung and their partners have done just that.

Researchers have shown that graphene sheets can be made by growing graphene on a layer of germanium. The material grows at different places on the semiconductor and joins together, creating a sheet of graphene, GIGA Om reported. The technique preserves graphene's electric and mechanical properties.

 "This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history," said the laboratory leaders at SAIT's Lab, according to a news release. "We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialization of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology."

The research was funded by Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) under the Project to Nurture Leading Creative Researching Experts Program. The study will be published in the journal Science Magazine and ScienceExpress.

For users, graphene-based electronics could mean lighter devices that are bendable and don't break easily.

Watch a video of how Geim and Novoselov isolated graphene crystals and why the material is so special.

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