Graphene is a single-layer material made entirely of carbon that is only one atom thick. While all of us (assuming you’ve used a pencil) have worked with graphite, the multi-layer “parent” of graphene, things get much more interesting when they’re thinned down to a single layer. On paper, graphene has a long list of impressive superlatives: lightest, thinnest, strongest, most impermeable, and most conductive. But where do these properties come from? Do they really pan out when you make graphene in the lab? As graphene makes the jump from theoretical wonder to real-life devices, what types of applications will it most likely be useful for?
In this presentation, I will give an introduction to how scientists make graphene in the lab and study its impressive properties. I’ll also discuss what types of applications graphene could potentially be used for, including batteries, photodetectors, cell phones, and sensors. I’ll also talk about some applications where graphene may not make the cut, despite some early hopes that it would. Never fear, graphene has a plethora of ultra-thin cousins that I’ll briefly discuss that may pick up the slack in those devices. Ultimately, graphene is one example of a broad array of “nanomaterials” that may give us the next generation of faster, smaller, and more efficient devices.