Nobel Laureate in Physics Konstantin Novoselov believes that graphene, for investigation of which he and Andrew Geim received a prestigious award, will be applied in the production of high-frequency transistors. Graphene is already available for individual entrepreneurs in the UK (the price ranges from 700 to 2300 pounds).
Now everyone is talking about graphene mainly positively: the material has unique physical chemical properties; it is expected it will revolutionise the world of electronics. This is the first known to man two-dimensional material that conducts electricity as well as copper; thus it grants an opportunity to create touch screens, solar sails for space vehicles, flexible electronic devices and many more.
However, the method for producing graphene, which was pioneered by Geim and Novoselov, initially did not find support in the scientific community. They used graphite rods and duct tapes, glued and then sticking to obtain material with a thickness of just one atom. It was believed that the layers of this thickness will be deformed.
Currently, Novoselov is asked one basic question regarding a better solution for the whole world: is graphene really better than its ‘precursor’, silicon, which is already used in the manufacture of transistors? The question of how the new technology will make another step forward to really take advantage of graphene has to be answered yet.
As mentioned, graphene for private engineering purposes is already available. The world’s first supplier of this material is the company Graphene Industries, registered in Manchester, where Geim and Novoselov live and work. Moreover, the industry is entered by ambitious brain tanks – the graphene companies like 2-DTECH provide guidance on how to integrate the neoteric material, thus accelerating the commercialisation process. The company representatives claim that graphene uses are numerous, and even today the innovative businesses can derive considerable benefits from its use.
‘Right now, we are collaborating with the owner of Graphene Industries, Peter Blake, who sells graphene for studies of biological objects in the transmission electron microscopes’, says Novoselov.
Currently, work is underway on the use of graphene in the creation and super-capacious phenomenally quickly-recharged batteries, particularly for electric vehicles, laptops and mobile phones. ‘Well this is a completely new area, and the results achieved so far do not mean that the full potential is used’, says Novoselov.
Even though the author of the revolutionary invention fails to forecast when will the practical application of graphene technology be used massively and worldwide, Novoselov is still quite optimistic. ‘If I was asked a year ago, I probably would have said ‘never’, but the last year was marked by a major breakthrough in the field of mass graphene production, so at the moment I’m much more optimistic about the practical application of this material’.
According to him, a good indicator of possible applications, it was not what people think in the laboratory, but what big companies plan. ‘The plans for the application of graphene by Samsung suggested experiments with further development to the commercial samples of touchscreen-displays back in 2012, however, the progress is not yet appreciable’, Novoselov says.