Graphene, material with future?

Some time ago it has been heard as miraculous and futuristic material to graphene. The sudden increase in scientific interest in graphene may give the impression that it is a new material. It has actually been known and described for more than half a century. The chemical bond and its structure were described during the 1930s. Philip Russell Wallace calculated for the first time (in 1949) the electronic structure of bands. Graphene was given little attention for decades when it was thought to be a thermodynamically unstable material since it was thought that thermal fluctuations would destroy the order of the crystal resulting in the 2D crystal melting. In this light is meant the revolution that meant that Gueim and Novosiolov were able to isolate the graphene at room temperature. The word graphene was officially adopted in 1994, after having been designated in a different way – in the field of surface science – “graphite monolayer”.

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In addition, many newly discovered nanostructures, such as carbon nanotubes, are related to graphene. Traditionally, these nanotubes have been described as “graphene sheets wound on themselves.” In fact the properties of carbon nanotubes are easily explained and understood from those inherent to graphene. Of nanotiras of graphene by means of nanolitografía, making use of a microscope of effect tunnel.

By its properties, the graphene can serve as material in the manufacture of airplanes, space satellites or automobiles, making them more safe. Also in building construction, as it would make them more resilient.

But, above all, its applications in the field of electronics stand out, where through its capacity to store energy can give the batteries a longer duration and a shorter charge time, establish faster connections and even contribute to improve the Environment replacing polluting materials that we are forced to use today.

Europe is doing well with graphene, so much so that it is now competing from you to you with the two powers that really looked like they were going to get hold of this monopoly, the United States and China. Western Europe accumulates 39 graphene producers, more than the 33 of China or the 30 of the United States. With the permission of the United Kingdom, where this material was created (Geim and Novoselov are researchers at the University of Manchester), Spain is the great bastion of the EU for the development of graphene.

Graphene is still a very expensive material to produce, at 100 dollars a gram in 2016. But as its use becomes popularized and mass produced its costs will decrease considerably.

Will it have a future? I bet it will, it will have to go down in price, and it may be a graphene combined with other materials, but of course it is a matter that has come to stay.

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