Today there are two main methods to produce graphene. You can synthesize the material, or you can exfoliate it from graphite. Now researchers from Penn State University developed a new way to produce high quality single-layer graphene sheets. They use a method they call intercalation - in which molecules or ions are inserted between graphene sheets in graphite and then these molecules pull out single sheets.

Intercalation was actually used way back in 1841, but it always damaged the sheets because it used strong oxidizing or reducing agents. In this new method, they use a mixture of acids without an oxidizing agent. It was found to work on both graphene and boron nitride. The researchers are now trying to speed up the process to make it scalable.

The researchers say that they actually didn't believe this method will work, but a $10 wager resulted in an experiment that was astounded everyone.

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XFNANO: Graphene and graphene-like materials since 2009 XFNANO: Graphene and graphene-like materials since 2009