US energy department funds project for coal-derived graphene production process

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected three projects to receive approximately USD$3 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects.

Among these projects is a laboratory-scale coal-derived graphene process – the University of North Dakota will demonstrate a laboratory-scale coal-derived graphene process to produce graphene oxide, reduced graphene oxide, and graphene quantum dots starting from domestic US coal.

Transparent graphene photodetectors enable advanced 3D camera

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan, led by Zhaohui Zhong, Jeffrey Fessler and Theodore Norris of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has created a 3D camera made from a stack of transparent graphene photodetectors that can capture and focus on objects that are different distances away from the camera lens. The device might find use in applications as diverse as biological imaging, driverless cars and robotics.

Objects at different distances from the lens will come into focus at different points inside the camera imageImage credit: Stephen Alvey, University of Michigan

Most of today’s optical imaging systems use a flat optical detector to record the intensity of light reflected from an object at each pixel. However, since these systems detect light in only one plane, all the information concerning the direction of the light rays is lost. This means that the recorded images are simple 2D projections of the actual 3D object being imaged.

Directa Plus wins second contract for graphene-based oil clean-up product

Directa Plus logoDirecta Plus has reportedly won a second contract for its graphene-enhanced oil contaminant treatment Grafysorber through subsidiary Setcar. The contract is with GSP Offshore, part of the Romanian oil services group GSP, and worth €5 million over a seven-year period.

GSP already has an eight-year agreement with Romanian oil and gas group OMV Petrom, another partner of Directa Plus. Setcar will treat oil-contaminated water and soil, residual drilling fluids treatment and clean oil storage tanks.

Graphene shows excellent resistance to stress

Researchers from the University of Toronto have shown that graphene is highly resistant to fatigue and is able to withstand more than a billion cycles of high stress before it breaks.

The intrinsic strength of graphene has been measured at more than 100 gigapascals, among the highest values recorded for any material. But materials don't always fail because the load exceeds their maximum strength. Stresses that are small but repetitive can weaken materials by causing microscopic dislocations and fractures that slowly accumulate over time, a process known as fatigue.

Haydale reduces overheads and closes its Taiwan operation

Haydale logoHaydale Graphene Industries has reportedly lowered its expectations for this year after slow sales in the US and UK. Haydale has reduced overheads by £900,000 and closed its Taiwan operation though there will be a £410,000 revenue hit from this action in the second half.

US unit HCT has also seen disappointing demand for silicon carbide (SiC) whiskers and blends, while the new blanks production line started later than scheduled in November.

NIST-led team uses graphene to create and image coupled quantum dots

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have used graphene and STM technology to create and image a novel pair of quantum dots — tiny islands of confined electric charge that act like interacting artificial atoms. Such “coupled” quantum dots could serve as a robust quantum bit, or qubit, the fundamental unit of information for a quantum computer. Moreover, the patterns of electric charge in the island can’t be fully explained by current models of quantum physics, offering an opportunity to investigate rich new physical phenomena in materials.

Graphene aids in imaging qubits imagea system of coupled quantum dots taken by STM shows electrons orbiting within two concentric sets of rings, separated by a gap. The inner set of rings represents one quantum dot; the outer, brighter set represents a larger, outer quantum dot. Credit: NIST

The NIST -led team included researchers from the University of Maryland NanoCenter and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. The team used the ultrasharp tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) as if it were a stylus of sorts. Hovering the tip above an ultracold sheet of graphene, the researchers briefly increased the voltage of the tip.

German researchers examine how proximity affects the resistance of graphene

A research team from the University of Göttingen, together with the Chemnitz University of Technology and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Braunschweig, has investigated the influence of the crystal on which graphene is grown, on the electrical resistance of the resulting material.

Contrary to previous assumptions, the new results show that the process known as the ‘proximity effect’ varies considerably at a nanometre scale. To determine the electrical resistance of graphene at the smallest scale possible, the physicists used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM).