A cost-effective solution to tuned graphene production

Mario Hofmann, National Cheng Kung University
Mario Hofmann is holding an example set up of the electrochemical synthesis.
Today (30 July), in the journal ("Controlling the properties of graphene produced by electrochemical exfoliation"), a team of researchers report that they have developed a simple electrochemical approach which allows defects to intentionally be created in the graphene, altering its electrical and mechanical properties and making the material even more useful.

The researchers used a technique called electrochemical synthesis to break graphite flakes into graphene layers. By varying the voltage they could change the resulting graphene's thickness, flake area, and number of defects - all of which alter the properties of graphene.

"Graphene is basically a metal - so it's somewhat boring!" explains Mario Hofmann, a researcher at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. "But when you start adding defects you begin to get interesting effects."

First studies on the electronic properties of graphene that brought received a lot of attention and the Physics Nobel prize in 2010 used graphene that was produced using adhesive tape to remove flakes of graphene from graphite. However, its defective counterpart graphene oxide could be first to carve out a significant market share as polymer fillers and battery electrodes.

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