Looking through loudspeakers

Looking through loudspeakers

Summary: How would you like a transparent loudspeaker that you can stick on your window, or on your computer screen? You would?

TOPICS: Graphene

How would you like a transparent loudspeaker that you can stick on your window, or on your computer screen? You would? According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Korean research team has constructed just such a thing, using nothing more complicated that an inkjet printer, graphite flakes and a little vapour deposition. So get in line for this latest piece of sci-fi-must-have-geek-chicery brought to you by the power of graphene.

Jyongsik Jang and colleagues at Seoul National University describe the process in the journal Chemical Communications.

First, using techniques developed by other researchers, the team made graphene oxide from commercially available flakes of graphite. From this they derived their graphene “ink”. (More details on this step over at PhysOrg.)

The PhysOrg article explains that printing with graphene ink isn’t quite as simple as printing with the finest recycled HP-substitute: a little low temperature plasma work has to be done to prepare the surface. But once that is done making the graphene electrodes is a matter of printing on both sides of the treated Poly vinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and dunking the output in a hydrazine and ammonia solution for 3 minutes.

Sadly, this is primary research, so we can’t expect to see such things in the shops for a while. But for once, the hurdle is not one of basic science. The kit works, the manufacturing is relatively simple, and not crushingly expensive.

However, the sound quality isn’t quite there yet. The researchers say they are still working on the bass tones.

In the meantime, the researchers will have to be content with the knowledge that they have earned high praise from their peers. Jinyue Jiang, a post doc at the University of Nebraska, told the RSC: "The beauty of this technique lies in its potential for large scale production and its ability to control the location of graphene - [depositing] graphene thin films on various substrates."

Topic: Graphene

Lucy Sherriff

About Lucy Sherriff

Lucy Sherriff is a journalist, science geek and general liker of all things techie and clever. In a previous life she put her physics degree to moderately good use by writing about science for that other tech website, The Register. After a bit of a break, it seemed like a good time to start blogging about weird quantum stuff for ZDNet. And so here we are.

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  • I was just wondering about the sound quality when you mentioned it. I can think of a good application as it stands though. When I was in my 20s way back in the 90s, a friend of mine put a pot of mercury on a very quietly running loud speaker and we watched the ceiling in amazement as he shone a mild laser beam onto the mercury and saw the most wonderful and strangely unique/meaningful patterns that went along with the music. Better than twisted pixel processing .milk files!

    Using a flat panel speaker would mean this could be done safely.
    roger andre
  • Hi Roger - that sounds wonderfully ill-advised. :-) (I mean that in a good way)
    Lucy Sherriff
  • Ha Ha yes don't want mercury seeping out unannounced! Maybe the software based stuff is the safest!
    roger andre