Scientists in Spain and Italy have developed a new approach for making few-layer graphene using a mechanochemical technique that exfoliates graphite with carbohydrates. This method could pose a "greener" alternative to the common method that involves exfoliating graphite using sonication that requires the use of toxic solvents.
A major drawback of using graphene for biological applications is its poor stability in aqueous systems. "Graphene is a strongly hydrophobic material, which aggregates in water and precipitates. To study graphene in biological media, it needs to be dispersed in aqueous solutions, without the use of toxic detergents" explains Ester Vázquez from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Now, Vázquez’s team has devised a new environmentally-friendly method for making graphene that could also make it easier to investigate in biological studies.