A team of UCLA scientists (Yang Yang and Richard Kaner), located at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), have discovered a technology of making graphene sheets in big quantities and at a low price. Graphene is being used to soak up hydrogen and store it efficiently.

This Graphene substance is practically a 1-atom thick carbon sheet, and is among the strongest materials known, having multiple attractive uses. These sheets – single-layer graphene – also have potential as electrodes for solar cells, for use in sensors, as the anode electrode material in lithium batteries and as efficient zero-band-gap semiconductors.

The scientists figured out a way to produce graphene by placing a graphite oxide paper into a pure hydrazine solution (a chemical compound of nitrogen and hydrogen), and reducing the paper to a single-layer, becoming graphene. Other science approaches have produced graphene in a similar way, but this is the first method of producing it by using a hydrazine solution as solvent.

The electrical conductivity of the newly created graphene is three times higher than previously obtained by chemical methods, which also makes it attractive for making very thin wires.

“This technology (hydrazine reduction) utilizes a true solution process for graphene, which can dramatically simplify preparing electronic devices,” said Yang, who is also faculty director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at the CNSI. “It thus holds great promise for future large-area, flexible electronics.”

[thanks to PhysOrg]

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