Smaller & Cooler Night Vision Thanks To Graphene

Everyone knows that green hue of the night vision goggles, from TV or games you’ve seen them help police and search and rescue teams with spotting people from a distance or soldiers using them to gain that upper hand in the night. One thing you may have noticed though is that the night vision you see people wearing tends to be large devices and are often very heavy. The reason for this is quite simply because most night vision units require cryogenic cooling due to the heat the materials and electronics generate; that could soon change though with the use of graphene.

Graphene is a semi-conducting material, meaning it absorbs electric charges and its roughly 100 times stronger than steel. MIT researchers have built a new chip out of the material, designed to help keep night vision goggles cool and even minimize the size of the night vision goggles.

While able to pick up a hand and logo the next step they hope to achieve is to increase the resolution of the images, with its size enabling the devices to be inserted into devices as small as smartphones they want to make sure that the technology is of a high enough quality to be used in everyday systems. One of the suggested uses is in your windscreens, meaning that your screen could display night vision in real time, reducing all those lights that block your eyes while your driving.

Hemp More Efficient and Cheaper than Graphene

A newly published data set shows that using hemp fibres is a much cheaper way to build super capacitors that perform equal if not better than those made from graphene.

Lets get one thing straight right away, we’re talking about hemp here, not marijuana or cannabis as many pages are reporting. These are two completely different plants from the same family and with a similar look. The hemp plant has zero Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and there for it is impossible to get high from smoking them. This is a purely industrial plant that already is used in thousands of different products and with thousands more application uses. It is one of the, if not the most, versatile plant we have on this planet.

And now super capacitors can be added to the list of uses. The fibres are superheated into carbon nano sheets which are then layered into a capacitor. The resulting unit is one thousand times cheaper and just as, if not more, effective than graphene capacitors. These particular hemp fibres are mostly found in bio waste, so these folks might just have stumbled across the holy grail of recycling.

A lot of major companies have invested a lot of money into graphene itself and it will be interesting to see what there next move will be. To ignore this new research or cut their losses and move with the time.

Thank you wccf tech for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Don Dwyer’s Dispatches and ACS Publications.

Future Supercapacitors Could Be Made from Discarded Cigarette Butts

Cigarettes are often burned down to their filters by smokers looking to enjoy every last bit of their expensive tobacco. But then those butts are just tossed away, contributing what’s often estimated as being as many as 5.6 trillion used cigarettes to our trash heaps every year.

A group of researchers from Korea decided to keep the burning process alive by applying heat to the filters themselves. This creates a material that improves supercapacitors, devices that hold electrical charges and are capable of releasing those charges in instantaneous bursts like the flash on a camera.

Supercapacitors are currently found in computers, but as they get better and smaller, the possibility exists that they will find their way into all our electronics. And yes, that means that one day, your smartphone could have recycled butts in it.

Prpfessor Jongheop Yi and his team from Seoul National University collected cigarette butts from a variety of brands. They then used a process known as pyrolysis, a form of combustion that takes place in an oxygen free environment, to heat the butts to a very high level. The cellulose in the filters are turned into carbon-based material that was better at storing energy than the types of carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes currently used in supercapacitors.

 “A combination of different pore sizes ensures that the material has high power densities, which is an essential property in a supercapacitor for the fast charging and discharging,” said Yi, co-author of the study just published in the journal Nanotechnology.

The secret to the success of the new material, which is known as nitrogen doped (N-doped) meso-/microporous hybrid carbon material (NCF), is that it has on its surface large and small pores, both of which are critical to the functioning of the electrodes in a supercapacitor. The large pores allow ions to move between the plates that comprise the supercapacitor, while the smaller ones increase the material’s surface area. This in return increases the material’s capacitance, or its ability to store a charge.

“Numerous countries are developing strict regulations to avoid the trillions of toxic and nonbiodegradable used cigarette filters that are disposed of into the environment each year,” Yi said. “Our method is just one way of achieving this.”

While the cellulose acetate in cigarette butts makes for good source material for supercapacitors, the butts themselves make for a particularly lousy form of litter, as they can take up to 12 years to decompose, can leach harmful chemicals into the environment, and can even end up in the digestive tracks of marine and land-based mammals. So Yi’s research could really solve two problems at once, making better electronics and reusing a material that accounts for one-third of the roadside litter.

Thank you R&Dmag for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Treehugger.

New Manufacturing Technique Could Speed Up Graphene Production

Graphene has been in the hands of researchers for ten years now, a super material that has displayed many interesting properties and applications. The only trouble with the material is that it has proven very tricky to produce on a large scale, but new innovations from MIT have found a workaround for one of the trickiest aspects of its production.

“To make it useful, you have to get it off the metal and onto a substrate, such as a silicon wafer or a polymer sheet, or something larger like a sheet of glass, but the process of transferring it has become much more frustrating than the process of growing the graphene itself, and can damage and contaminate the graphene.” said MIT team lead A. John Hart in a recent release.

Their technique involves making a kind of metal sandwich, growing the graphene on both sides of a sheet of nickel instead of the old technique that only used one side. When the sheet is laid over glass and the top layer of graphene and nickel are peeled away, a perfect layer of graphene was left on the glass. This means the glass and graphene combo is now ready to be directly integrated into a TV or mobile devices’ screen.

The new process isn’t limited to glass and can also be used on solar cells, silicon wafers and more, but the team is now going to focus their efforts on improving the attributes needed to produce a high-performance graphene coating.

Graphene innovations are everywhere these days, but until these manufacturing hurdles are overcome, we’ll have to wait for any new innovative products which we can actually go and buy.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Gigaom.

Pouring Saltwater Over Graphene Generates Electricity

When it comes to generating electricity out of water, most people probably think of dams and the use of the water pressure to turn large turbines and generate electricity by means of magnetic turbines. Scientists are looking at another method though.

Specifically, they are once again exploring other prospects of hydroelectricity, like dragging water over nano-structures. And with graphene being one of the most popular nano-structures to date, it was obvious that someone would eventually test out the idea on it.

The results, as it turns out, are very promising. Researchers from China were able to generate electricity from graphene by dragging small droplets of salt water over it.

Normally, to harvest electricity from nano-structures needs an ionic fluid (liquid with charged ions in it) to be pushed through a system with a pressure gradient. The amount of energy that can be acquired this way is small  because the gradient needs to push the ionic fluid through a small tube.

The Chinese team grew a layer of graphene instead, and placed a drop of salt water on it, which they dragged at various speeds. There seemed to be a linear relationship between the speed and the energy (faster was better). A drop made of copper chloride and placed on a graphene surface generated 30 mV when the surface was tilted to one side and gravity came into play. The technology should not only be usable in small devices, but eventually can be applied to larger scaled applications as well.

Thank you to Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

IBM Builds Graphene Circuit Boards, Sends Text Messages Faster At Lower Power Cost

Recent reports point to IBM creating a graphene-based circuit that they say performs 10,000 times better than existing options. It was reliable enough that they used it to send and receive a text message.

What is graphene? Simple. It’s an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms renowned for its strength and conductivity. It is heralded as a possible alternative to silicon, which currently dominates electronics production. One of the major potential applications for graphene is transistors, which control the flow of electricity in circuits. The more transistors you can fit onto a chip, the more powerful it can be.

It is said that researchers should be able to pack far more atom-thick graphene transistors into a chip than the bulkier silicon alternative. Graphene also transports electricity 200 times faster than silicon. The IBM team integrated graphene into a radio frequency receiver, a device that translates radio waves into understandable information that can be sent back and forth. They tested it by sending a text message that read “IBM” with no distortion.

“This is the first time that someone has shown graphene devices and circuits to perform modern wireless communication functions comparable to silicon technology,” IBM Research director of physical sciences Supratik Guha said in a release.

The circuit announced today was made by adding the graphene only after the rest of the circuit was assembled, which means it is never exposed to the manufacturing steps that could damage it, having included three graphene transistors. The team is particularly interested in how the technology could be used in wireless communications systems, though graphene could be integrated into any silicon-based technology. Mobile devices would potentially be able to transmit data more quickly at a lower cost using less power.

Thank you GIGAOM for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of GIGAOM

New Graphene Manufacturing Method Inspired By Tree Frog Feet

Graphene is the cool kid in the world of materials, it’s incredibly strong and conductive, making it perfect for a wide range of applications, and especially good for electronic chips and solar cells. The only problem we have with Graphene is that it is hard to manufacture. When it was first discovered, the one atom thick layer of carbon was created using tape and pencil lead, now it looks like the humble tree frog’s feet may have inspired a new technique.

By adding the graphene to a silicon wafer the researchers were able to create circuits, among other things. This means they can not only grow, but also attached the graphene to the wafer in a single step, making the whole manufacturing process a lot quicker and easier, which hopefully in turn will also make it cheaper.

By using a copper based catalyst coating that allows the graphene to grow on the silicon disc, the researchers used bubbles to adhere it to the disc. They got the idea from the feet of beetles and tree frogs who use the technique to stick to submerged leaves. It’s a strange place to get their inspiration, but an effective one and the team is already working to extend their technique and see if it has commercial properties.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gigaom.

Move Over Graphene, There Is A New Tough Guy In Town, Say Hello To Carbyne!

Remember back in the day, when times were simple and we all knew that diamond was the strongest thing around? Well those days are long over and since then we’ve learnt that Graphene was the strongest material, not to mention one of the most versatile materials. Yet for all the amazing things we’ve learnt about Graphene in the last few years, the top spot of tough materials has a new king, Carbyne.

Carbyne, aka Linear Acetylenic Carbon, is a super material that was first theorized in 1967, but it’s been long disputed for 40 years if it was in fact possible, or just a day dream. Well now theory has become reality after a team at Rice University figured out how to successfully synthesize and stabilize the material at room temperature.

With a similar structure to that of diamond, Carbyne is incredibly tough and it could have extensive applications in the world of nanotechnology, or like everything else these days it may just become the next big thing to make a smartphone out of, either way this is some very cool stuff indeed.

Thank you Gajitz for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gajits.

Graphene Could Make Camara Sensors 1000x More Sensitive

Digital Cameras have proven them selves more than worth as the successor to more traditional film cameras, but while there have been many steady advances with both pixel density, lens technology and processing technology over the years, every once in a while something really big comes along, something that can really change the game and push the technology into a new generation.

According to a report on Engadget, researchers at the Nanyang Technological University have developed a revolutionary image sensor made out of the wonder material known as Graphene, a material which in its self has earned a few amazing headlines over the last couple of years. This new graphene sensor is 1000 times more sensitive at capturing light than traditional CMOS and CCD sensors, with the added benefit of simultaneously using 10 times less energy, which is incredible to say the least.

The high sensitivity makes these ideal for surveillance and satellite equipment, not to many there is no doubt many research and scientific applications for something this sensitive.

So 1000 times more sensitive and ten times lower power requirement, surely that’s impressive enough right? Well how about the face that should they end up in consumer tech you can expect them to cost 5 times less to manufacturer! Smartphone cameras just won’t be the same again if this tech makes it to a consumer level, personally I’m constantly amazed at the cool uses for Graphene.

Image courtesy of Engadget


Graphene antennas will allow Terabit per second uploads

Researchers at Georgia Tech have made plans to build a wireless antenna using atom-thin sheets of carbon/graphene which will have the potential to allow terabit-per-second transfer speeds at short ranges.

In theory, in short range you can move as much as 100 terabits per second which will approximately allow you to transfer about 100 high definition movies within minutes.

Ian Skyildiz, director of broadband wireless networking laboratory at Georgia Tech said,”“It’s a gigantic volume of bandwidth. Nowadays, if you try to copy everything from one computer to another wirelessly, it takes hours. If you have this, you can do everything in one second—boom!!”

Using the graphene antenna, it is possible to have terabit-per-second upload at the range of one meter for now. Graphene is a sheet made of carbon which is only 1 atom thick and is of a honeycomb structure which have many desirable electronic properties as the electrons are able to move through graphene with no resistance, therefore making it 50 to 500 times more faster than what’s possible using silicon.

To make the antenna, the sheet of graphene could be shaped into narrow strips with the width between 10 to 100 nanometers and 1 micrometer long. This will allow the material to transmit and receive terahertz frequency. The electromagnetic waves in the terahertz frequency will be in contact with oscillations of electronics at the surface of the strip, achieving the ability to send and receive information.

Graphene antennas don’t allow such high upload independently as they rely on many other components to do so, such as signal generators and detectors, amplifiers, and filters. The researchers also need to figure out how to mass produce this as working with material is extremely tricky as its properties changes when it comes in contact with other materials.

As one would expect, Georgia tech hopes that the prototype of the antenna within a year.

It was during MWC 2013 where Samsung said that they will be funding the research for intra-chip communication using a terahertz band. In their Global outreach program, Samsung said that they will give $120,000 to team of research from Universitat Politechnica de Catalunya-Barcelona Tech and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

VIA: Gizmodo