Graphene: An overview

For years, researchers have known that carbon, when arranged in a certain way, can be very strong. Case in point: graphene.

Graphene-a one  atom  thin  sheet  of  carbon  atoms  arranged  in a  hexagonal  format  or  a  flat  monolayer  of  carbon  atoms  that  are  tightly  packed  into  a 2D  honeycomb  lattice  is  the  ‘new  wonder   material’ that  is  expected  to  shape  almost  all aspects  of  future  technologies.  Existing  as  the  sole  2D  structure  on  earth  a lot  is  expected  of  this  material.

Graphene has many fascinating properties. It is about 200 times stronger than the strongest steel. It efficiently conducts heat and electricity and is nearly transparent. Graphene shows a large and nonlinear diamagnetism, greater than graphite and can be levitated by neodymium magnets.

To give you an idea of what graphene is capable of :

  • It can be stretched quarter its length and and it is stiffer than diamond thanks to its perfect crystalline structure and ultra strong interatomic bonds
  • It is so strong that it would take an elephant balancing on a sharpened pencil to pierce a graphene sheet with the thickness of a saran wrap
  • Because it is only one atom thick, a gram of graphene can cover an entire football stadium
  • At room temperature it conduct electricity faster than any other known material and 250 times more than silicon
  • It demonstrates high bio compatibility and can be used in bio medical applications
  • It conducts heat ten times better than copper
  • It absorbs 2.3% of white light

There is virtually no field in the future world where graphene is not a part of.The future scope of graphene may include:

  • Graphene polymer batteries can allow electric vehicles to travel at the range of 800 kmph
  • Ultrafast photonic computer chips that can run on light rather than electricity
  • Organic Light Emitting Diodes(OLEDs)
  • Flexible touch screen displays
  • Ultra thin thermal and pressure sensors
  • Super sensitive elastomer skin for robots.

Major advantages of graphene are :

  • It  is  the  thinnest  material  known  and  with  that  also  the strongest.
  • It  consists   of  a  single  layer  of  carbon  atoms  and  is  both  pliable  and transparent.
  • It is a superb conductor of both heat and electricity.
  • It  is  used  in  the  production  of  high  speed  electronic  devices  responsible  for  fast  technological  changes.
  • Chemical sensors effective at detecting explosives.
  • Membranes for more efficient separation of gases. These  membranes  are  made  from  sheets  from  which  Nano scale  pores  have  been created.
  • Transistors  that  operate  at  higher  frequency  as  compared  to  others.
  • It  has  led  to  the  production  of  lower  costs  of  display  screens  in  mobile  devices  by  replacing  indium-based  electrodes  in  organic  light  emitting  diodes(OLED)  which  also  lower  power  consumption.
  • Used in the production of lithium-ion batteries that recharge faster. These batteries use graphene on the anode surface.
  • Storing Hydrogen for fuel cell powered cars.
  • Low  cost  water  desalination  by  using  graphene-with  holes  the  size  of  a  nanometer  to  remove  ions  from  water.
  • Used  in the  production  of  the  graphene  condom  which  is  able  to  increase  sensation  and   is  much  thinner  than  latex  condoms.


  • One of the most expensive materials on the planet
  • Non renewable resource and incredibly hard to synthesize
  • While notable for its thinness and unique electrical properties, it’s very difficult to create useful, three-dimensional materials out of graphene
  • Being  a  great  conductor  of  electricity, although it  doesn’t  have  a  band  gap (can’t  be  switched  off). Scientists are working on rectifying this.
  • The  main  disadvantage  of  graphene  as  a  catalyst  is  its  susceptibility  to  oxidative  environments.
  • Research has proven that graphene exhibits some toxic qualities. Scientists  discovered  that  graphene  features  jagged  edges  that  can  easily  pierce  cell  membranes,  allowing  it  to  enter  into  the  cell  and  disrupt  normal  functions.

These  are  just  but  a  few  of  the  ‘wonder  material’s’  advantages  and  disadvantages  and  since  the  material  is  still in  the  research  stage  much  more  is  yet  to  be  revealed .


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