The research group has produced a form of ultrathin, very flat, very lightweight, very flexible, graphene oxide that is suitable for use as an optical lens. Graphene is a material formed from carbon. The end-product is near transparent, light and very strong. Additionally, graphene has good conductive properties (far superior to silicone). Graphene has been featured regularly on Digital Journal.
The newly developed graphene-based ultrathin lenses will be used for on-chip nanophotonics and will lead to measurable improvements with the conversion process of solar cells. Other applications, Controlled Environments magazine reports, include non-invasive three-dimensional biomedical imaging, photonic chips, and laser tweezing. Several of these devices use headsets to help engineers and surgeons, harnessing the latest developments nano-scale technology.
Each of these requires effective optical lenses and allows the user, or a computer, to visualize objects smaller than 200 nanometres. This is incredibly small, given that one nanometer is one billionth of meter. Being able to visualize such small objects has advantages for electronic construction and ultra-fine surgical procedures.
To create the lens, researchers used a film 300 times thinner than a sheet of paper, formed by converting graphene oxide film to reduced graphene oxide via a photoreduction process. This is a type of chemical reduction which occurs when substances are subject to controlled bursts of light.
The development of the lens is outlined in a paper submitted to the journal Nature Communications. The paper is titled “Highly efficient and ultra-broadband graphene oxide ultrathin lenses with three-dimensional subwavelength focusing.”
In related news, a research group is developing graphene-based sensors to be used for screening candidate drugs in the search for more effective medications.