Scientists have brought industrial production of graphene a step closer with the discovery that the chicken wire structured material can be made in a single step from the simplest of ingredients: sugar.
Led by Professor James Tour, Rice's T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry at Rice University, the researchers put 10mg of table sugar on a square centimetre of copper foil. They passed a flow of hydrogen and argon gases over the sugar while it was heated at low pressure to create graphene.
Writing in the journal Nature, graduate student Zhengzong Sun says the one-step process the team has developed at the University can produce large sheets of high quality graphene at temperatures as low as 800 degrees C.
From Science Daily: [Sun found] depositing carbon-rich sources on copper and nickel substrates produced graphene in any form he desired: single-, bi- or multilayer sheets that could be highly useful in a number of applications.
Sun and his colleagues also found the process adapts easily to producing doped graphene; this allows the manipulation of the material's electronic and optical properties, which is important for making switching and logic devices.