Graphene Technologies has been issued a US patent (#8,420,042) for a process for atom-by-atom synthesis of graphene by the exothermic chemical reduction of carbon dioxide. The company says that this new process is a breakthrough in graphene production, and it represents a dramatic departure from the current methods of producing graphene, such as chemical vapor deposition and chemical exfoliation of graphite.
The company says that using this new process allows them to produce bulk volumes of pristine, few-layer graphene platelets from inexpensive, commonly available feedstock. The reaction uses carbon dioxide to oxidize magnesium at temperatures up to 7,000°F, forming nano-scale magnesium oxide and carbon. The produced graphene's morphology is controlled by process parameters (reaction temperature, thermal gradient and pressure). It's also possible to chemically functionalize or dope the produced graphene.
The patent also covers a multi-stage reactor designed to utilize energy produced by the highly exothermic reaction and recycling of the magnesium as feedstock.