Spanish scientists open the door to using graphene in smart filters and sensors

As part of a national research collaboration, Spanish researchers including the ICN2 have reached a milestone in graphene research, that potentially brings science a step closer to using graphene in filtration and sensing applications.

The researchers have successfully synthesized a graphene membrane with pores whose size, shape and density can be tuned with atomic precision at the nanoscale. Engineering pores at the nanoscale in graphene can change its fundamental properties. It becomes permeable or sieve-like, and this change alone, combined with graphene's intrinsic strength and small dimensions, points to its future use as the most resilient, energy-efficient and selective filter for extremely small substances including greenhouse gases, salts and biomolecules.

Graphene can be tuned to behave as both an insulator and a superconductor

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University have found that graphene can be tuned to behave at two electrical extremes: as an insulator, in which electrons are completely blocked from flowing; and as a superconductor, in which electrical current can stream through without resistance.

MIT and Harvard team create graphene ''superlattice'' that can be superconductive and insulating image

Researchers in the past, including this team, have been able to synthesize graphene superconductors by placing the material in contact with other superconducting metals — an arrangement that allows graphene to inherit some superconducting behaviors. In this new work, the team found a way to make graphene superconduct on its own, demonstrating that superconductivity can be an intrinsic quality in the purely carbon-based material.

Graphene nanoribbons contact the molecular world

A collaboration between Spanish research institutes—led by the nanoGUNE Cooperative Research Center (CIC)—has achieved a breakthrough in so-called molecular electronics by devising a way to connect magnetic porphyrin molecules to graphene nanoribbons. These connections may be an example of how graphene could enable the potential of molecular electronics.

magnetic porphyrin molecule is connected to a GNR image

Porphyrin is an important molecule that is responsible for making photosynthesis possible in plants and transporting oxygen in the blood. Recently, researchers have been experimenting with "magnetic porphyrins" and discovered that they can form the basis of spintronic devices. Spintronics involves manipulating the spin of electrons and it is this spin that is responsible for magnetism: When a majority of electrons in a material have their spins pointing in the same direction, the material is magnetized. If you can move all the spins up or down and can read that direction, you can create the foundation of the “0” and “1” of digital logic.

Chinese team develops graphene-based heat-resistant memristors

A team of Chinese scientists has developed graphene-based high temperature-resistant memristors, which are leading candidates for future storage and neuromorphic computing, with potential to address existing challenges in the development of electronic devices.

The sandwich-like memristor is composed of two layers of graphene, with a layer of molybdenum disulfide in the middle. The memristor devices exhibit excellent thermal stability and can operate at a high temperature of up to 340 degrees Celsius.

Graphene-enhanced technology created electronics that vaporize in response to radio waves

Researchers from Cornell University and Honeywell Aerospace have designed a graphene-enhanced transient electronics technology in which the microchip self-destructs by vaporizing – an action that can be remotely triggered – without releasing harmful byproducts. In addition to transient electronics, the technology might find application in environmental sensors that can be remotely vaporized once they're no longer needed.

A silicon-dioxide microchip is attached to a polycarbonate shell. Microscopic cavities within the shell contain rubidium and sodium bifluoride. When triggered remotely by using radio waves, these chemicals thermally react and decompose the microchip. The radio waves open graphene-on-nitride valves that keep the chemicals sealed in the cavities, allowing the rubidium to oxidize, release heat and vaporize the polycarbonate shell. The sodium bifluoride releases hydrofluoric acid to etch away the electronics.

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