Samsung Electronics said Friday that is has honed a process that would lead to the commercialization of graphene, a new form of carbon that could one day replace silicon.
Graphene has been around for a while and it has won over a lot of researchers. The problem is that graphene had lots of potential but commercial applications were hard to come by.
Samsung's plan is to change that equation and use graphene---more durable than steel and flexible for use in displays and wearables---broadly in its product lineup over time.
According to a statement, Samsung along with Sungkyunkwan University created a synthesis method that can grow graphene in large single crystal wafers. In other words, the process should allow graphene at some point to scale like silicon does in semiconductor manufacturing.
Engineers around the world have invested heavily in research for the commercialization of graphene, but have faced many obstacles due to the challenges associated with it. In the past, researchers have found that multi-crystal synthesis – the process of synthesizing small graphene particles to produce large-area graphene – deteriorated the electric and mechanical properties of the material, limiting its application range and making it difficult to commercialize.
The new method from Samsung and Sungkyunkwan maintains graphene's properties but can put it on a wafer. The research will be published in the April 4 issue of Science Magazine and ScienceExpress.
For Samsung, the commercialization of graphene would have multiple benefits. First, Samsung has one of the largest semiconductor businesses in the world so could really scale graphene manufacturing. In addition, Samsung also happens to make the displays where graphene would be used. And finally, Samsung could have an edge with next-generation electronics that used graphene.