Graphene – Thin Skin yet Ultra Strong!

5 10 2010

In 2004, the British researchers obtained graphene by mechanical exfoliation of graphite. They used Scotch tape to repeatedly split graphite crystals into increasingly thinner pieces. The tape with attached optically transparent flakes was dissolved in acetone and, after a few further steps, the flakes including monolayers were sedimented on a Si wafer. Individual atomic planes were then hunted in an optical microscope. A year later, the researchers simplified the technique and started using dry deposition, avoiding the stage when graphene floated in a liquid. Relatively large crystallites (first, only a few microns in size but, eventually, larger than 1 mm and visible by a naked eye) were obtained by the technique. It is often referred to as a scotch tape or drawing method. The latter name appeared because the dry deposition resembles drawing with a piece of graphite.[21] The key for the success probably was the use of high throughput visual recognition of graphene on a proper chosen substrate, which provides a small but noticeable optical contrast. For an example of what graphene looks like, see its photograph below.

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