April 4, 2014 - 10:52 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A group of researchers supported by Samsung Electronics said Friday, April 4, that they’ve developed a technique for synthesizing graphene– an ultra-thin material of unusual strength and flexibility — that brings commercialization a step closer, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Graphene is an attractive material because of its potential use as a bendable, ultrathin screen for wearable devices, offering flexibility and strength in a lightweight package. Samsung has released a number of new products in the past year with curved or bendable displays, including an array of widescreen televisions, smartphones and smartwatches. Samsung executives have described the current products as a foreshadowing of a new era of wearable and bendable devices. Graphene is the thinnest material known, but is also extremely good at conducting electricity and heat.
The findings, which allow a single crystal of graphene to retain its electrical and mechanical properties across a larger area, were published in the April 4 issue of the academic journal Science. Previously, graphene could only be made large enough for commercial use by bringing together separate graphene crystals that would impair electrical conductivity.
Samsung said graphene will play a major role in the company’s transition to wearable and other next-generation electronic devices.
Mass production of graphene, however, has been hampered by high costs and certain limitations that arise when small graphene particles are combined to produce a larger piece of the material, the Journal notes.
Samsung claims to have overcome these obstacles using a new method that synthesizes graphene as a single crystal on a larger scale, allowing for the graphene to retain the electrical and mechanical properties that make it such an attractive material. Being able to synthesize graphene on a single crystal has long been a goal of the world’s graphene scientists, who are scattered around the world, with major centers of research in the U.S., Japan, China and South Korea.
Samsung declined to comment on what specific commercial applications it has in mind, provided it can follow through with mass production of the substance.
“The main issue has been how to grow single-crystal graphene on a larger scale, and this is the first demonstration of that,” said Sung-yool Choi, director of the Graphene Research Center at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, a rival to Sungkyunkwan University that submitted the paper.
Using a new technique, he added, the scientists appear to have synthesized single-crystal graphene at a large enough scale for industrial and commercial use.
“We can expect high electrical performance compared to other work,” Choi said, according to the Journal.
The research was conducted by the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the company’s research and development arm, and South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University, whose foundation is controlled by Samsung. Funding for the research came from South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the company said.