The big graphene innovations you need to know about

Posted Dec 16, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Every month a new development using the ‘wonder material’ graphene is presented. Digital Journal has picked three recent research highlights that showcase the growing potential of graphene.
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional  atomic-scale  honey-comb lattic...
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, honey-comb lattice in which one atom forms each vertex.
Courtesy: National Science Foundation
Graphene, a monolayer of carbon atoms, has many impressive properties. It is the strongest material ever tested. It is also flexible, transparent and conducts heat and electricity 10 times better than copper, and it has good optical properties (making it suitable for flexible display screens). These properties are propelling a series of scientific innovations, and we’ve selected three of these.
Smart textiles
Graphene holds the key for the development of smart-textiles, according to new research. Scientists from the University of Exeter have developed a a new technique to create fully electronic fibers. The material can be incorporated into the production of everyday clothing.
This should address a limitation with today’s wearable electronics, which are generally put together by gluing devices onto fabrics. The degree of rigidity this leads to limits the scope of wearable devices.
The alternative involves integrates the electronic devices into the fabric of the material (by weaving the graphene fibers into the fabric). This is achieved by coating electronic fibers with lightweight, durable components that will allow images to be shown directly on the fabric.
Ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy image of a point defect in graphene that has been ep...
Ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy image of a point defect in graphene that has been epitaxially grown on 6H-SiC(0001)
Argonne National Laboratory
Brain implant electrodes
Hydrogels with electrical and antibacterial properties suitable are being tested out as neural interfaces. New research from the University of the Basque Country has produced some hydrogels with potential biomedical applications. The main use is with implants that interact with the nervous system.
To make these electrodes more efficient, the researchers have used starch as the raw material. While this has a measure of success, to enhance the electrical properties graphene and salvia extracts were added. Graphene provides electrical properties that are highly suited to the hydrogel.
Researchers at Rice printed wwls  the university s mascot  in hydrogen atoms on a graphene substrate...
Researchers at Rice printed wwls, the university's mascot, in hydrogen atoms on a graphene substrate, turning it into a graphane superlattice suitable for organic chemistry, then "lit up" the Owls by coating them with a fluorophore and viewing them through fluorescence quenching microscopy.
Zhengzong Sun/Rice University
Low-carbon fibers
In related news, researchers at The University of Manchester have combined graphene with the natural fiber jute. This pairing has created the world’s first for graphene-strengthened natural jute fiber composites. This product could replace synthetic materials across several manufacturing areas, like car production for car interiors, and would appeal to those seeking a natural and carbon-neutral alternative.