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New Graphene-Based Material Could Revolutionise Electronics Industry

University of Exeter (04/27/12)

Researchers at the University of Exeter say they have developed the most transparent, lightweight, and flexible material ever for conducting electricity.  The material, called GraphExeter, is based on graphene, which at just one atom thick is the thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity, is very flexible, and is one of the strongest known materials.  The researchers from Exeter’s Center for Graphene Science created GraphExeter by sandwiching molecules of ferric chloride between two layers of graphene.  Ferric chloride enhances the electrical conductivity of graphene without affecting its transparency.  The researchers say GraphExeter is much more flexible than indium tin oxide, the main conductive material currently used in electronics.  The new graphene-based material could be used to create wearable electronic devices, such as clothing containing computers, phones, and MP3 players, or smart mirrors or windows that have computerized interactive features.  “GraphExeter could revolutionize the electronics industry,” says lead researcher Monica Craciun.  “It outperforms any other carbon-based transparent conductor used in electronics and could be used for a range of applications, from solar panels to ‘smart’ teeshirts.”  The researchers are developing a spray-on version that could be applied directly onto fabrics, mirrors, and windows.

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