Samsung has announced that it has found a new method to speed up the commercialisation of graphene, a “wonder” material that’s flexible, stronger than steel and 100 times more electrically conductive than silicon. In other words, it’s perfect for use in consumer electronics.
Graphene isn’t a new material (it was discovered in 2004) but the difficulty and expense of producing it has meant we haven’t seen it used in any commercial gadgets thus far. Samsung’s new synthesis method, which it modestly describes as “one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research history”, is superior to its forerunners due to the fact that it synthesises large-area graphene into a single crystal on a semiconductor and therefore maintains its electric and mechanical properties.
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The older methods deteriorated these properties, taking away the very virtues by which graphene could prove superior to existing materials. Graphene’s strength, physical flexibility and conductive properties make it highly suited to the next-gen stuff that gets lots of people very excited – things like wearable technology and flexible displays.
Basically, Samsung (or to be more specific, the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, in partnership with South Korea’s Sungkyungkwan University School of Advanced Materials and Science) has come up with a novel way of create great big, thin sheets of graphene – and that may have the effect of speeding up the commercial use of graphene in gadgets by a few years. Don’t expect Samsung to start launching graphene products by Christmas or anything, mind you: we’re still a good few years away from a Galaxy Note you can fold up and put in your pocket like a wallet.
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