UK researchers discover new graphene-based conductors
Sheets of carbon-based nanomaterial graphene -- akin to a sheet of unrolled carbon nanotubes -- has some remarkable properties. A single sheet of graphene is just one atom thick, making it the thinnest known conductor, and the one of the strongest. Graphene is also transparent, and researchers have been striving to adapt graphene for use in flexible transparent electronics. The main difficult has been graphene's somewhat high resistance, making it unsuitable as a replacement for other materials that have lower resistance and much higher conductivity. This week, a group of researchers at the Center for Graphene Science at the University of Exeter have devised a novel solution. By sandwiching a thin layer of ferric chloride between two sheets of graphene, the UK researchers have created a high conductivity material that doesn't sacrifice the optical and material properties of graphene alone. This material is the currently the best know transparent conductor with these properties, and can be used for a wide range of applications in optoelectronics from flexible conductive fabrics to novel solar technologies.