12 October 2012
Researchers unveil ‘graphene roadmap’
Nobel prize winner Professor Kostya Novoselov and an international team of researchers have produced a 'graphene roadmap' to set out what the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material can achieve.
Published in Nature, the paper details how graphene – isolated for the first time at the University of Manchester by Professor Novoselov and Professor Andre Geim in 2004 – could revolutionise a variety of electronic applications, from smartphones to computer chips.
One key area is touchscreen devices, according to the researchers, who say that graphene's mechanical flexibility and chemical stability are superior to indium tin oxide. They believe the first graphene touchscreens could be on the market within three to five years.
The team says that graphene's flexibility will also be ideal for fold up electronic sheets, with rollable epaper potentially available as a prototype by 2015.
With timescales for applications varying depending upon the quality of graphene required, the report estimates that devices such as photo detectors, high speed wireless communications and THz generators will not be available until at least 2020, while graphene as a replacement for silicon is unlikely to become a reality until around 2030.
"Graphene has a potential to revolutionise many aspects of our lives simultaneously. Some applications might appear within a few years already and some still require years of hard work," said Professor Novoselov.
"Graphene is a unique crystal in a sense that it has singlehandedly usurped quite a number of superior properties: from mechanical to electronic," he added. "This suggests that its full power will only be realised in novel applications, which are designed specifically with this material in mind, rather than when it is called to substitute other materials in existing applications."
University of Manchester
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