Graphene Is The Future Philosophy Essay

Modified: 1st Jan 2015
Wordcount: 2296 words

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This report will contain a brief history of, a main body, some properties of and a main description of a material called Graphene. A super material. Within the sub categories and different pages of the report you will come to find out for yourself just how amazing and the seamlessly endless possibilities of this wonderful material.

When a new material has been discovered it brings new and exciting times to the scientific and technological world. With a new material you have the opportunities to take a look back on previous unsolved problems and also bring new ones to the table. For the first time ever scientists have been able to isolate single two-dimensional atomic layers of atoms. These are one of if not the thinnest material known to man also just so happens to have the strongest bond in nature, the C-C bond.

To accompany the report along the way you will find images and graphics of the super material in its varying form.

Also in the report you will come across the properties of graphene and will see that in so many ways that this super material far exceeds possibly all other materials in comparison to itself.

A brief description about Graphene

Graphene is what we call a 2D material it derives from a single layer of graphite. Its structure is made of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb like structure similar to a chicken wire. Even though graphene is the thinnest material today it also is the strongest material today. Graphene conducts electricity as efficiently if not better than copper and has no comparison in its ability to conduct heat. Graphene is almost completely transparent giving it an already futuristic look.

The way it breaks down is:

Graphite = 3D material Graphene = 2D material

Nanotube = 1D material Buckyball = 0D material

Brief History

Although graphene has been a known material since 1857 and many people have been trying to find a way to work on or produce graphene in a way that could be used commercially an answer was not forthcoming until the work of Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov. The work that these produced in the University of Manchester in the year of 2007 was to become ground breaking when it came to the super material graphene.

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Almost everything had been discovered about graphene everything except the properties of the material and this intrigued Andre, who then asked a recently graduated student Kostya in 2002 to see how thin he could make a single piece of graphite by polishing it down. As they could not get thin enough slices the work continued until 2004. At first Kostya could not find a way to get thin enough slices from the graphite, Andre asked his friends and colleagues and a senior member by the name of Oleg Shklyarevskii said to Andre that the piece of tape that they used to peel of layers of graphite would have thinner layers than trying to polish it down. From there on the work on finding the properties of graphene began.

Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov went on to win the Nobel Prize in 2007 in physics for their work they achieved on graphene.

Timeline of the most recent entries of grapheme

1947 Graphene first studied as a limiting case for theoretical work on graphite by Phillip Wallace

1966 First attempts to grow multilayer graphite Hess W M and Ban L L also Karu A E and Beer M

1984 Massless charge carriers in graphene pointed out theoretically by Gordon Walter Semenoff , David P. DeVincenzo and Eugene J. Mele

1987 Name “graphene” first mentioned by S. Mouras and co-workers

2004 Graphene isolated in free form by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov

2004 Observation of graphene’s ambipolar field effect by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov

2005 Anomalous quantum hall effect detected showing massless nature of charge carriers in graphene Andre and Kostya and by Philip Kim and Yuanbo Zhang

2006 Quantum Hall effect seen at room temperature by Novoselov et. Al.

2007 The first ever detection of a single molecule adsorption event by Schedin et. al.

2008 Measurements of extremely high carrier mobility by Bolotin et. al.

2010 Andre and Kostya were awarded the Nobel prize in physics for their work on graphene.

Main Body

Graphene is the super material that will change the future of this world. Between its outstanding electrical and amazing mechanical properties there is just no other material that even comes remotely close to the potential this material possesses. When Andre and Konstantin revealed their work on graphene not even they could have foreseen what an impact this new and wonderful material would bring to the world. Graphene will forever shape our future.

Although graphene at the moment is still not a household name it most indefinitely will be in the very near future. It will be used in almost everything from super-computers to your mobile phone, from separating water from other substances, from creating a futuristic world and to improving the properties of other widely used materials.

When the world has found a way of mass producing graphene in a commercial way the world itself will change. Moores law states that computer power will double every 18 months up to and until the point where our silicon can no longer take it passed the barrier, the barrier being that silicon can only conduct electricity at a certain speed, graphene smashes that speed. If you look at the world and technology 10 years ago and think what it is like now there has been a massive change and improvement in the scientific and technological world as we know it. Graphene with its superior properties will take us even further in to the future, on its own and by improving materials and substances of today.

Properties of Graphene

Although just one atom thick, graphene posses outstanding mechanical, electronic, optical, thermal and chemical properties, described below. Graphene is a one atom thick sheet made of carbon atoms, arranged in a honeycomb (hexagonal) lattice.

Its height was measured to be just 0.33nm, almost one million times thinner than a human hair!

Graphene is the ultimate 2-dimensional carbon molecule.

Graphite, the well known 3-dimensional carbon allotrope found in our pencils, is nothing more than a stack of several graphene planes.

Graphene shares its structure with two other materials which are exciting today’s scientists: carbon nanotubes and fullerenes (also called bucky-balls), seen as a 1-dimension and 0-dimension rolled pieces of graphene.

Electronic Properties

Graphene is a great if not thee best conductor of electrons. The electrons are able to flow through graphene more easily than copper, they travel through the graphene sheet as if they carry no mass, as fast as just one hundredth that of the speed of light.

The main material in computer chips today is silicon but in order to create faster and more improved computers we needed a new material to take us there. Graphene is that material

Mechanical Properties

To calculate the strength of graphene, scientists used a technique called Atomic Force Microscopy. By pressing graphene that was lying on top of circular wells, they measured just how far you can push graphene with a small tip without breaking it.

It was found that graphene is harder than diamond and about 300 times harder than steel. To put this into context, it will take the weight of an elephant balanced on a needle-point in order to break this one atom thick fabric! The tensile strength of graphene exceeds 1 TPa.

Even though graphene is so robust, it is also very stretchable. You can stretch graphene up to 20% of its initial length. It is expected that graphene’s mechanical properties will find applications into making a new generation of super strong composite materials and along combined with its optical properties, making flexible displays.

Optical Properties

Graphene, despite being the thinnest material ever made, is still visible to the naked eye. Due to its unique electronic properties, it absorbs a high 2.3% of light that passes through it, which is enough that you can see it in air (if you could manage to hold it up!).

To help enhance the visibility of graphene flakes we deposit them on to silicon wafers which have a thin surface layer of silicon dioxide. Light shining on to these three-layer structures will be partially transmitted and partially reflected at each interface.

This leads to complex optical interference effects such that, depending on the thickness of the silicon-dioxide layer (which we can control to a high degree of accuracy), some colours are enhanced and some are suppressed. This technique takes advantage of the same physics which causes the “rainbow effect” that you see when you have a thin layer of oil floating on water. In this case, the different colours correspond to longer/shorter optical path lengths that the light has had to travel through the oil film.

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Those above are the most common attributes of graphene but there are a few more. What you are about to read will come across as something straight out of a science fiction movie or novel, graphene can heal itself that’s right heal itself, because of the fact that graphene is only one atomic layer thick it seeks out other atoms to bond to, so it grabs the other graphite atoms around it closing the gap and essentially healing itself. But it doesn’t stop there as graphene is so thin it can be placed over other materials giving it a graphene coating which in turn improves the material it has been placed on top of. If you place that membrane of graphene over copper it will almost completely stop the copper rusting creating longer lasting materials.

Graphene is tougher than diamond previously thought of as the hardest material on earth and 300 times stronger than steel yet is so ductile than it can bend, paving the way for a future where you can fold up your mobile phone and put it in your pocket.

Graphene has also been found able to distil water making it cleaner. The uses for this could almost wipe out diseases spread where water is contaminated, creating healthier and greater living conditions.

The list of properties and applications of graphene grow almost on a daily basis and bring with it new and innovative ideas to the world.

Future Applications

The future applications of graphene are almost limitless, because of the abundance of properties that graphene has people, science and technology will be inventing new and wonderful ways to integrate it into our world. With graphene being so thin yet so strong there are markets for it such paper thin flexible displays for televisions, watches and phones.

When it comes to our computers and the chips inside them that are used control them the material that we use is silicon, but there is only so much that silicon can do and so far it can take our computers today, this is where graphene comes in. Graphene because of its amazing electrical properties it will be the material to take our computers into the future.

Graphene being so thin it can be cut or crumbled into small flakes and introduced to other materials to make a composite material. If you added the graphene flakes to plastic to make a composite material that way it could be used to make a lighter and conductive material for aircraft making it effective against lightning and because of it being lighter it will also be fuel efficient.

Graphene can also be introduced to other material in such a way as a bond, if you bond graphene to the likes of copper it will reduce the amount and time it takes for the copper to oxidise or rust. Thus making the copper last longer and become more efficient.


Graphene the material that can barely be seen yet will change the world in so many ways. From its unique ability to heal itself to its incredible strength down to its incomparable ability to conduct electricity. This amazing material has no boundaries.

Graphene although not yet a household name in many people’s eyes will soon become a well known worldwide phenomenon. Just as everyone wants the new latest technology or gadgets on the market, people will want the new technology, materials and computers that have graphene in them.

Graphene the super material has no limits to what it can achieve. With its unbelievable properties and applications in so many fields, the possibilities are endless. Graphene will change our future to cleaning up the water in Africa to making materials that are in use today become more effective and sustainable in a way that if you put a graphene, layer over copper it will reduce the amount of time it takes to oxidize and rust, making it a more efficient material. It can also be used for composite materials so if you take one material and bond it to another it makes a composite material, if you put graphene with a plastic t will create a lightweight material that can withstand lightning which would be extremely useful in aircrafts, making them lighter and more fuel efficient. Graphene has many different properties ranging from the normal to the extreme and to some that even seem straight out of a science fiction novel.

Graphene is the material that will make our technology today seem like we have been using caveman techniques for the past 10 years.

It is the material that will pick the world up and throw it in to a brighter and better future.

Graphene is the future!



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