Article last updated on: Jul 12, 2020

Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern. Graphene is considered to be the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material - of both electricity and heat. All of these properties are exciting researchers and businesses around the world - as graphene has the potential to revolutionize entire industries - in the fields of electricity, conductivity, energy generation, batteries, sensors and more.

Mechanical strength

Graphene is the world's strongest material, and can be used to enhance the strength of other materials. Dozens of researchers have demonstrated that adding even a trace amount of graphene to plastics, metals or other materials can make these materials much stronger - or lighter (as you can use a smaller amount of material to achieve the same strength).

applications of composites image

Such graphene-enhanced composite materials can find uses in aerospace, building materials, mobile devices, and many other applications.

Thermal applications

Graphene is the most heat conductive found to date. As graphene is also strong and light, it means that it is a great material for making heat-spreading solutions, such as heat sinks or heat dissipation films. This could be useful in both microelectronics (for example to make LED lighting more efficient and longer lasting) and also in larger applications - for example thermal foils for mobile devices. Huawei's latest smartphones, for example, have adopted graphene-based thermal films.

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Energy storage

Since graphene is the world's thinnest material, it also extremely high surface-area to volume ratio. This makes graphene a very promising material for use in batteries and supercapacitors. Graphene may enable batteries and supercapacitors (and even fuel-cells) that can store more energy - and charge faster, too.

Graphene battery advantages imageThe advantages of graphene batteries

Coatings ,sensors, electronics and more

Graphene has a lot of promise for additional applications: anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.

Graphene is such a great and basic building block that it seems that any industry can benefit from this new material. Time will tell where graphene will indeed make an impact - or whether other new materials will be more suitable.

The latest Graphene Application news:

Reduced graphene oxide enables stretchable strain sensor for monitoring of physical activities

A new work by scientists at India's National Institute of Technology Rourkela describes the fabrication of extremely flexible, accurate, and robust strain sensors employing electrochemically produced reduced graphene oxide (rGO).

Conventional silicon-based strain sensors have relatively low flexibility of less than 5% and inadequate responsiveness, making them unsuitable for detecting both small and large strains. Aside from the flexibility constraint, typical silicon-based strain sensors need sophisticated manufacturing procedures such as microelectromechanical and deposition of thin films. Flexibility, responsiveness, and endurance are critical characteristics of wearable devices because they aid in the integration of the sensors over non-uniform interfaces such as the human body. Aside from elasticity, these products also need a sensor capable of detecting minute deformations caused by physiological factors and physical activity.

Skeleton Technologies announces agreement with ZPUE to provide supercapacitors to the Polish market

Skeleton Technologies and ZPUE, the largest manufacturer of electrical devices for electrical power distribution utilities in Poland, have entered into a commercial agreement to provide energy storage solutions to the Polish market.

The two companies signed a Letter of Intent under which Skeleton should supply supercapacitors for rail wayside storage at 200 MW per year from 2023 to 2025.

Graphene assists in taking a step toward ultrafast computers

Researchers at the University of Rochester and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have demonstrated a logic gate—the building block of computation and information processing—that operates at femtosecond timescales. The feat was accomplished by harnessing and controlling the real and virtual charge carriers that compose these ultrafast bursts of electricity.

The researchers have opened the door to information processing at the petahertz limit, where one quadrillion computational operations can be processed per second. That is almost a million times faster than today’s computers operating with gigahertz clock rates, where 1 petahertz is 1 million gigahertz.

Researchers develop a graphene platform for extra sensitive detection of viral proteins

Scientists at Swansea University, Biovici Ltd and the National Physical Laboratory have developed a graphene-based method to detect viruses in very small volumes.

Researchers develop graphene platform of biosensors imageGraphene device chip attached to an electrical connector, with two 5 μL HCVcAg samples (one applied on each graphene resistor). Image credit: Swansea U

The work followed a successful Innovate UK project developing graphene for use in biosensors – devices that can detect tiny levels of disease markers.

Q36.5 launches graphene-enhanced cycling clothes

Q36.5, producer of advanced cycling clothing, has launched a line of bike shirts made of yarn that integrates graphene in the fabric (rather than using the material as a treatment).

Q36.5 launched graphene-enhanced yarn for bike shirts image

The "Clima Jersey" line is said to be made from a polyester fabric infused with graphene, and takes advantage of graphene’s conductive and heat dissipation properties to provide cutting edge thermoregulation, helping the wearer to stay cool and dry during hard efforts.