Graphene: now it is antibacterial and printable

Is there nothing it cannot do? Here are a couple of new fun facts about graphene to see out the weekend.

Is there nothing it cannot do? Here are a couple of new fun facts about graphene to see out the weekend.

One: You can use an inkjet printer to make printed graphene circuits (you knew there had to be a reason those cartridges are so expensive, right?). Two: it is antibacterial, specifically, it knocks out E.coli.

Let’s start with the printing. Printed circuits are not new, but printing with graphene is. Researchers at the University of Cambridge started off with a standard Epson printer and print cartridge. Next they made a solution of graphene by dissolving large flakes of the carbon wunderkind in a solvent called NMP and loaded the printer with thin film silicon sheets and pressed go.

The paper (published here states that the work paves the way to “all-printed, flexible and transparent graphene devices on arbitrary substrates”. That’s flexible electronics to you and me.

Bet the printer’s warranty doesn’t cover it, though.

And the antibacterial thing? This was actually published back in July, but better late than never. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences demonstrated that Escherichia coli is fatally damaged by “two water dispersable graphene derivates”, namely graphene oxide and sheets of reduced graphene oxide.

The researchers say that the state of the art is such that they expect the discovery will soon be exploited commercially, either in environmental or clinical applications.

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