Scientists have concocted a recipe for growing graphene that will help ease the transition towards its widespread use in electronics devices.
A team of researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found that it’s hydrogen rather than carbon which plays a fundamental part in creating a uniform crystalline form.
Not only does hydrogen initiate growth in the wonder material, it is also vital in creating the perfect hexagonal shapes of a “faultless single crystal structure” say the researchers. This is vital in its application with electronics.
In the past, graphene growth has centred around carbon, though this has produced odd-shaped graphene grains that were less likely to be single grains.
The scientists previously thought that hydrogen played a passive role in the growth of graphene. But they have now discovered the effect it has on both “the activation of absorbed molecules that initiate the growth of graphene” and the “elimination of weak bonds at the grain edges that control the quality of the graphene.”
This has opened doors to a method for reliably synthesising the material on a large scale.
Control of the grain size impacts on the functionality of graphene in transistors, semiconductors and “potentially hundreds of electronics devices.”
According to one of the scientists, the use of hydrogen in graphene growth constitutes a “major breakthrough towards graphene implementation in real-world-devices”.
If it brings the use of graphene a step closer then it certainly is an exciting prospect. There are many potential applications of the Nobel-prize winning wonder material, with IBM developing its potential as a future IC technology.