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.

MIT team designs a graphene-based system that draws power from daily temperature swings

Researchers at MIT have developed a novel graphene-assisted method to convert temperature fluctuations into electrical power. Thermoelectric devices usually generate power when one side of the device is a different temperature from the other. In the team's design, however, instead of requiring two different temperature inputs at the same time, the new system takes advantage of the swings in ambient temperature that occur during the day-night cycle.

MIT designs novel graphene-based thermoelectric device image

The new system, called a thermal resonator, could enable continuous, years-long operation of remote sensing systems, for example, without requiring other power sources or batteries, the researchers say.

On Nanotech Engineering's 92% efficiency graphene-CNTs solar panel claim

In early October 2017 we posted about Nanotech Engineering's novel graphene-enhanced solar panel, a post that raised many eyebrows. Nanotech says that their graphene panel reaches a 92% efficiency (compared to around 20% for large commercial silicon-based PV panels), and the cost per Watt of their panel will be 0.55 cents (compared to a US average of $3.26 for silicon PV panels).

Rice team studies thermal properties of graphene-CNTs junctions image

Graphene-CNT junctions (source: Rice University)

Our post quoted Nanotech's PR, stating that Jeffrey Grossman, Professor of Engineering at MIT verified the technology and said that “Pound for pound, the new solar cells produce up to 1,000 times more power than conventional photovoltaics”.

MIT and Lamborghini to develop graphene-enhanced supercar

Update: MIT Professor states that these supercapacitors will NOT be graphene-based!

Lamborghini and MIT have announced a collaboration on a 3-year project to develop a graphene-enhanced supercapacitor electric vehicle. The Lamborghini-MIT partnership could, however, end up being extended as there is no target date for the car’s completion.

MIT and Lamborghini develop graphene-enhanced supercar image

The planned graphene-enhanced Terzo Millennio ("third millennium") supercar may be a real gamechanger. This concept car is to be a fully electric, supercapacitor-powered automobile that can be charged in minutes – with no bulky battery. It will reportedly be "covered in a sheet of graphene", but this description does not sound extremely accurate... We will have to wait for further information on this project.

MIT and Johns Hopkins team manages to make graphene self-fold into 3D shapes

Researchers with Johns Hopkins University and MIT have shown a way to cause flat sheets of graphene to self-fold into 3D geometric shapes. The group explains how they prepared the sheets and then used heat to cause them to fold. The ability to create 3D objects from sheets of graphene can advance opportunities in fields like sensors, wearables and more.

Graphene can be folded into 3D shapes image

In their work, the researchers developed a micro-patterning technique that leads to the flat graphene sheets bending along predesignated lines when heat is applied, causing the sheet to form into shapes. The new method not only preserves the intrinsic properties of the graphene, but it was also found that the creases can cause a band gap in the graphene, which can be extremely useful.

Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!