Everything you need to know about graphene
- 2 March 2023
- NanoEMI Admin
- Graphene knowledge
Discover the fascinating world of graphene, a material that has been called a game changer due to its unique properties and potential applications in various industries. In our article, we present the history of graphene, from its discovery and isolation in 2004, to its current status as one of the most promising materials of the 21st century. The article also provides a brief overview of graphene’s key properties, including its strength, flexibility, and electrical conductivity, and highlights some of the potential applications for this remarkable material. The article is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about graphene and its potential innovative impact in various industries.
In this article you will learn:
- What graphene is?
- Can you see Graphene?
- What is nanotechnology?
- Who developed the definition of nanotechnology?
- What are nanomaterials?
- The history of the discovery of graphene?
- Graphene structure – can you break graphene?
- Types of carbon structures
- Various allotropes (types) of carbon?
- Difference between graphite and graphene
- Graphene crystalline structure – 2D materials
What graphene is?
Graphene is a two-dimensional carbon material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like lattice. Graphene is one of the thinnest, strongest and most conductive materials in the world, which makes it attractive for many different applications.
Can you see Graphene?
Yes, you can see graphene, but it is a very thin layer that is difficult to see with the naked eye. Graphene is so thin that its thickness is only one atom, which makes it invisible to our eyes.
To view graphene, electron microscopes such as a transmission electron microscope (TEM) or a scanning electron microscope (SEM) are most often used, which allow a clear image of its surface to be obtained. Other methods of studying graphene, such as Raman spectroscopy and surface electron reflection, also aid in its characterization and analysis of its properties.
What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field of science and technology that deals with the study and design of materials and devices at the nanometer scale. A nanometer is a unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter.
Nanotechnology uses extremely small-scale materials and phenomena to create new and advanced technologies and products. Nanomaterials such as graphene and nanoparticles are some of the most important materials in this field due to their unique properties and potential for use in a wide variety of industries such as electronics, medicine, energy and materials science.
Nanotechnology is a very dynamic and fast-growing field, and its application and impact on our lives and economy will continue to grow in the future.
Who developed the definition of nanotechnology?
The definition of nanotechnology was developed by Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, in his 1959 speech “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”. In his speech, Feynman offered a new perspective on materials and phenomena at the nanometer level and initiated a discussion on the potential application of nanotechnology.
Although the concept of nanotechnology has been known and used before, Feynman in his speech gave a detailed explanation of what it means and what its potential applications are. His speech became an important reference point for the development of this field and laid the foundations for further research and development in the field of nanotechnology.
The key person who made an important contribution to the development of nanotechnology is the figure of Norio Taniguchi, a Japanese engineer and scientist from Tokyo Science University. In 1974, he published a paper titled “What is Nano-Technology?” in the journal “Science and Technology”, where he used the term “nanotechnology” for the first time. His paper was one of the first to focus on the new opportunities and challenges of nanotechnology, which has driven the field forward.
Norio Taniguchi was a pioneer in the field of nanotechnology and his work helped to highlight the potential applications of this technology in many fields such as electronics, medicine, materials science and others. His work is an important source of inspiration for contemporary researchers and engineers who strive to further develop and use nanotechnology.
Nanoscale – what to do to see it?
The nanoscale is too small to be seen with the naked eye. To see it, you need specialized tools, such as electron microscopes. Electron microscopes provide high-resolution images and help analyze the properties of materials at the nanometer level.
There are also other tools, such as optical microscopes and atomic force microscopes, which also produce images at the nanometer level.
In conclusion, to see the nanoscale, you need to use research tools such as electron microscopes to get a high enough resolution to see details at the nanometer level.
What are nanomaterials?
Nanomaterials definition – these are materials whose components are in nanometers, i.e. on the scale of billions of parts of a meter. The properties of nanomaterials often differ from those of their larger-sized counterparts, which is why they are widely studied and applied in various fields.
Applications of nanomaterials – Nanomaterials have a range of applications including electronics, energy, medicine, chemical industry, composite materials and more. For example, nanomaterials such as graphene are being used to make more efficient batteries and solar panels, and as components for electronic circuits. Gold nanoparticles are used in medicine as drug carriers and diagnostic tools. Silver nanoflakes are used as effective antiseptics.
In summary, nanomaterials are materials with properties that differ from those found in larger-sized materials, and they are used in many fields such as electronics, medicine, chemical industry and many others.
The history of the discovery of graphene
Who discovered graphene?
Graphene was discovered in 2004 by two scientists from the University of Manchester in the UK: Professor Andre Geim and Doctor Kostya Novosel. They conducted a series of experiments in which they proved the existence of a layer as thin as a graphene atom on the surface of a graphite layer.
The discovery was particularly important because graphene is one of the thinnest and strongest materials ever found and has a number of unique properties, such as high thermal and electrical conductivity and exceptional mechanical properties.
Geim and Novosel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their discovery. Since then, graphene has become one of the most important research objects in the field of nanotechnology and materials science, and its properties continue to be studied and used in many different applications.
How graphene was discovered?
Graphene was discovered in 2004 by two scientists from the University of Manchester in the UK: Professor Andre Geim and Doctor Kostya Novosel. This discovery resulted from a series of experiments that investigated the properties of a graphite layer on a crystalline surface.
During these experiments, Geim and Novosel noticed that the graphite layer is so thin that it is possible to separate a layer only a few atoms thick. After separating this layer, they noticed that it had many unique properties, such as high electrical and thermal conductivity and exceptional mechanical properties.
Scientists have proven that this layer is graphene, and their discovery was groundbreaking and contributed to the development of many new fields of science and technology, including nanotechnology and materials science.
When was graphene first discovered?
Graphene was first discovered in 2004 by two scientists from the University of Manchester in the UK: Professor Andre Geim and Doctor Kostya Novosel.
Graphene structure - can you break graphene?
The structure of graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional hexagonal grid. The carbon atoms are connected to each other by means of carbon-carbon bonds, which makes graphene very durable and resistant to tearing.
Although graphene is very strong, it is not indestructible and can be damaged by mechanical forces such as friction and impact. However, due to its unique structure, graphene is one of the hardest materials in the world, and its ability to maintain its integrity is far greater than many other materials.
In any case, graphene’s ability to maintain its integrity is very important for many applications, including electronics and power generation, where strength and reliability are required.
Graphene is a two-dimensional material made up of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice structure. The carbon atoms in graphene are bonded to each other through strong covalent bonds, which are characterized by the sharing of electrons between the atoms.
In graphene, each carbon atom has three neighbors and is bonded to them through sp2 hybrid orbitals, which are intermediate between the s- and p-orbitals of the carbon atom. The sp2 hybrid orbitals are perpendicular to the graphene plane and overlap with the orbitals of the neighboring carbon atoms to form strong covalent bonds.
This strong bonding gives graphene its remarkable mechanical and thermal properties, including its high strength, stiffness, and thermal conductivity. Additionally, the unique bonding in graphene allows for high mobility of electrons, making it a highly conductive material with potential applications in electronics and energy storage.
The geometry of graphene is characterized by its hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms in a flat, two-dimensional sheet. Each carbon atom is bonded to three neighboring carbon atoms in a 120-degree angle, forming a honeycomb-like pattern. The hexagonal lattice structure of graphene is a result of the sp2 hybridization of the carbon atoms’ orbitals, which gives rise to its unique bonding and mechanical properties.
In addition to the hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms, the graphene lattice also has a planar geometry, with the carbon-carbon bonds lying in the same plane. This planar geometry gives graphene its thin, sheet-like structure, making it one of the thinnest materials known to exist.
The geometry of graphene is closely related to its electronic properties, as the arrangement of the carbon atoms determines the way electrons can move through the material. This, in turn, affects the conductivity and other electronic properties of graphene, which are important factors for its potential applications in electronics, energy storage, and other areas.
Graphene is considered to be a highly stable material due to its strong covalent bonding between the carbon atoms. The carbon-carbon bonds in graphene are characterized by the sharing of electrons between the atoms, resulting in a highly interconnected network of bonds that provide stability to the material.
Additionally, the hexagonal arrangement of the carbon atoms in graphene allows for a uniform distribution of bonds, which contributes to the overall stability of the material. The stability of graphene is also influenced by its planar geometry, with the carbon-carbon bonds lying in the same plane, which provides additional support and stability to the material.
However, it’s important to note that graphene is not completely immune to degradation or decomposition. The stability of graphene can be affected by external factors such as exposure to high temperatures, strong chemicals, or radiation. The stability of graphene can also be affected by defects or impurities in the material, which can disrupt the uniform distribution of bonds and weaken the overall stability of the material.
Overall, graphene is considered to be a highly stable material, but its stability can be affected by certain environmental conditions or the presence of defects in the material.
Types of carbon structures
There are several types of carbon structures, including:
- Graphene: it is a two-dimensional crystalline carbon material, consisting of a single layer of carbon sinters with a hexagonal structure.
- Carbon nanotubes: These are one-dimensional cylindrical carbon structures that consist of one or several layers of graphene rolled-up in a tube.
- Carbon nanoparticles: these are quasi one-dimensional carbon object such as fullerenes or graphite quantum dots, consisting of one layer of graphene in a form of a ball or several layers of graphene, respectively.
- Crystalline Graphite: This is a three-dimensional structure of carbon, consisting of billions of layers of graphene stacked on top of each other.
Depending on their structure and composition, these different types of carbon have different properties and uses. Graphene is best known for its unique mechanical, electrical and electronic properties that make it interesting for a wide range of applications including electronics, energy, medicine and materials science
Carbon structures can be classified into three types based on their crystal structure: amorphous, crystalline, and policrystalline.
- Amorphous carbon: Amorphous carbon refers to carbon materials that have no long-range order and lack a well-defined crystal structure. They have a random and disordered arrangement of carbon atoms. Examples of amorphous carbon include coal, carbon black, and soot.
- Crystalline carbon: Crystalline carbon refers to carbon materials that have a well-defined crystal structure. The carbon atoms are arranged in a repeating pattern in space, giving rise to a three-dimensional repeating crystal lattice. Examples of crystalline carbon include diamond, graphite, graphene, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes.
- Policrystalline carbon: Policrystalline carbon refers to carbon materials that have a mosaic-like structure composed of multiple, small crystal domains. They are intermediate between amorphous and crystalline materials and have properties that are influenced by both. Examples of policrystalline carbon include activated carbon and certain types of carbon nanotubes and graphene.
Various allotropes (types) of carbon?
Crystal structures of different types (allotropes) of carbon:
Carbon is a chemical element that can exist in several different forms, called allotropes. Here are a few of them:
- Diamond – it is the best known and most durable form of carbon. It has extremely hard and durable mechanical properties, making it an excellent material for many applications such as tools and jewelry.
- Graphite – it is a form of carbon that is very soft and brittle compared to diamond. Graphite is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and an excellent material for making pencils and batteries.
- Amorphous carbon – this is a form of carbon that has no crystalline structure and is usually made of carbonaceous carbon. Amorphous carbon is often used as a material in air filters and water filters.
- Fullerenes (fullerenes) – these are carbon derivatives that have the form of spherical particles. Fullerenes are considered one of the most interesting forms of carbon due to their unique properties and potential applications in the field of nanotechnology
- Graphene – this is a two-dimensional layer of carbon, which is one of the thinnest and strongest materials in the world. Graphene is considered one of the most important discoveries of the last few decades and has potential applications in many different fields, such as electronics, energy and medicine.
- Carbon nanotubes, also known as CNTs, are one of the allotropes of carbon. They are cylindrical structures composed of a single layer of graphene rolled into a tube. Carbon nanotubes have unique properties that make them attractive for a variety of applications such as electronics, energy storage and materials science. They exhibit high mechanical strength, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and unique electronic properties that make them ideal for a range of applications. Carbon nanotubes can be synthesized using a variety of techniques, including chemical vapor deposition, high-pressure carbon monoxide conversion, and laser ablation.
Baby boom - When carbon allotropes joined the family?
Fullerenes, also known as buckyballs, were first discovered in 1985 by Richard E. Smalley, Robert F. Curl, Jr., and Harold W. Kroto at Rice University. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for their discovery of this new form of carbon. Fullerenes are a family of carbon molecules that have a spherical or ellipsoidal shape and consist of 60 or more carbon atoms. They are formed from the reaction of vaporized carbon in a high-temperature laser-vaporization process. The discovery of fullerenes expanded the understanding of carbon allotropes and opened up new avenues for research in materials science, chemistry, and nanotechnology.
Carbon nanotubes were discovered in 1991 by Sumio Iijima, a researcher at the NEC Corporation in Japan. Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical tubes of graphene, with walls made up of a single layer of carbon atoms. They have unique mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties that make them useful for a wide range of applications, including electronics, energy storage, and composite materials. The discovery of carbon nanotubes was a significant step in the study of carbon allotropes and has led to numerous advances in nanotechnology and materials science.
Graphene was first isolated and identified as a single layer of carbon atoms in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who were then researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK. Their work on graphene led to the discovery of its unique electronic and mechanical properties, including its high electrical conductivity and tensile strength, which make it a promising material for a wide range of applications, such as electronics, energy storage, and composites. The discovery of graphene was groundbreaking, and Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their pioneering work.
Which is stronger graphene or diamond?
No, graphene is not harder than diamond. Diamond is one of the hardest materials known to man and has a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, while graphene is not a hard material and has a Mohs hardness of around 2-3.
However, graphene has other unique properties that make it an attractive material for various applications, such as its high electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, flexibility, and transparency. It also has a large surface area and high thermal conductivity, which make it useful in applications such as energy storage, electronics, and composites. In comparison, diamond is an excellent thermal conductor, has a high refractive index, and is chemically inert, which makes it useful for a range of industrial and scientific applications.
So, while graphene is not harder than diamond, it still has unique properties that make it a valuable material for many applications.
Graphene vs Silicon - who can be called a cheetah of physics?
Graphene is known for its high electron mobility, which is about 100 times faster than that of silicon. This high mobility is due to the unique electronic structure of graphene, which allows electrons to move fast through the material without too much scattering. This makes graphene an attractive material for applications in electronics and photonics, where high-speed and efficient charge transport is required.
Graphene and silicon are two different materials with distinct properties that are often compared in the field of electronics and materials science. Silicon is the most widely used material in the electronics industry and has been the foundation of the modern microelectronics revolution. On the other hand, graphene is a relatively new material that is known for its exceptional mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties.
The nickname “cheetah of physics” is often given to graphene due to its high carrier mobility and high thermal conductivity, which are unparalleled among other materials. However, it is important to note that the properties of silicon and graphene are complementary, and both materials have their own strengths and weaknesses. While silicon is abundant and well-established in the electronics industry, graphene is still in the process of being commercialized and finding its niche in the market.
Difference between graphite and graphene
Are graphene and graphite the same?
No, graphene and graphite are different materials, but both are made from carbon atoms. Graphite is a natural, three-dimensional carbon material consisting of layers of thin, flat blocks of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Graphene, on the other hand, is a two-dimensional carbon material that consists of a single layer of thin, flat blocks of carbon atoms that are held together by strong cohesive bonds. In practice, graphene is a single layer of graphite that has been chipped off and separated from the other layers.
Will graphite and graphene burn?
Yes, graphite is combustible in the presence of air and very high temperatures. Its melting is caused by a chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air, which leads to the formation of carbon dioxide and water vapor. For this reason, graphite is used as a heat source in carbons and in electrodes in some batteries and electric heating devices.
Graphite is highly resistant to fire. High temperature is necessary to burn it. The melting point of graphite is about 3600°C and the flash point is about 4500°C. This means that graphite can withstand large amounts of energy before it starts to burn. In practice, it is very difficult to burn because it requires a very high temperature.
Graphene is very flammable in the presence of air/oxigen. It will combust at temperature below 400° C and start to burn at 350° C.
Graphene crystalline structure - 2D materials
Graphene is a single-layer arrangement of carbon atoms that is flat and dispersed. The crystal structure of graphene is hexagonal and consists of carbon atoms arranged in successive layers. Each carbon atom in graphene is connected to three other carbon atoms by strong sp bonds. As a result, each atom is connected to other carbon atoms on both sides, resulting in high strength and hardness of graphene. In this crystalline structure, each carbon atom is bonded to six other carbon atoms, making graphene one of the strongest and most durable materials.
What are 2d materials, is graphene 2D?
2D materials are two-dimensional materials that are only one or a few atomic layers thick. Unlike 3D materials, 2D materials have reduced dimensionality, giving them unique properties and potential applications in fields such as electronics, energy and biomedicine. Some well-known examples of 2D materials include graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) and black phosphorus. These materials have a high surface area to volume ratio, and some of them can have high electrical conductivity and high mechanical strength, which makes them attractive for a variety of applications.
Graphene is a monolayer
Monolayer graphene refers to a single layer of graphene, which is a two-dimensional material composed of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Monolayer graphene is considered to be the basic building block for other graphene structures, such as few-layer graphene and bulk graphene. The unique properties of monolayer graphene, such as its high electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, and thermal conductivity, make it a promising material for a wide range of applications, including electronics, energy storage, and sensing. Monolayer graphene is also considered to be an ideal platform for the study of two-dimensional physics, as its low dimensionality allows for the observation of quantum effects.
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