The discovery is as old as the 1940s, but researching possible applications to present-day hi-tech stuff dates back to only about 2004, where researches in the UK found ways to reproduce it, using – believe it or not – clear adhesive tape from the desk drawer. A close relative of carbon nanofiber tubes, graphene sheets may soon replace aging microchip technology with its superior flexibility, conductivity, strength, and low-cost.
- Microchips – graphene-borne transistors perform better; as soon as mass production brings costs down and supplies up, silicon microchips may become antiquated
- Increased Internet speeds – single-atom layers of conductive material moves light faster than thicker, heavier conductive wire; graphene may speed things up 100 times over
- Contact lenses –Phone cameras already pick up UV rays – if contact lenses are developed to do this, infrared “heat-vision” is just around the corner
- Biotech – graphene’s incredible strength, despite its flat, chicken-wire atomic structure, may prove to revolutionize synthetic organs and prosthetic limbs; at the very least, it could be woven into clothing to both protect the wearer and turn her or him into a walking Wi-Fi hotspot
- Solar cells – because of the way the atoms connect, panels made with grapheme may be “hundreds of thousands of times thinner and lighter” than their old school silicon friends, revolutionizing solar-power
- Bendable, foldable mobile devices – if malleability is the future, then graphene is in line to be the big-ticket material for mass production
What’s more, it just may be the most earth-friendly hi-tech material yet, as ExtremeTech.com notes:
Carbon nanotubes are carbon, life’s primary structural component. This means that graphene…could be biodegradable, too.
Yeah! Happy Earth Day, everybody!