Laser Treated Graphene Makes Paper Electronics A Reality

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A team of ‘nanoengineers’ working at tge Jonathan Claussen’s lab in Iowa State University has been searching for new ways to incorporating graphene and its amazing features in sensors as well as related technologies. Graphene has buzzed the nanotechnology world with its single atom thickness and amazing conduction properties. It is stable as well as very robust as compared to its counterparts. The team of researchers we are talking about here has tried to move beyond these characteristics.

graphene

Figure 1: Graphene

The recent developments that used multi-layered graphene for ink jet printers and other purposes motivated the researchers to use this product into low-cost flexible wearable electronics. Suprem Das, the Iowa State postdoc research associate puts up an interesting query, “Could we make graphene at scales large enough got glucose sensors?” The current technology had a number of challenges.

The first problem was that once graphene has been printed, its electrical conductivity could be improved only through some treatment. This mean more chemicals and high temperature that could damage the flexibility as well as the disposable printing surface of paper or plastic. Claussen and Das came up with a new idea of laser treatment. The two worked together to develop and test the concept.

Finally, the trick was successful. The two found that when inkjet-printed, multi-layered graphene electrodes and electric circuits were treated with lasers it resulted in improved electrical conductivity. There was no damage to the paper, plastic, or polymer on which the graphene was printed. Claussen says, “This creates a way to commercialize and scale-up the manufacturing of graphene,The breakthrough of this project is a transforming the inkjet-printed graphene into a conductive material capable of being used in a new applications.”

The applications of this discovery can include biological as well as sensors-related applications, energy storing systems, paper-based electronics, as well as electrical conducting components, In order to accomplish that, the team has created a computer controlled laser technology that eliminates inkjet-printed graphene oxide. The treatment also removes the ink blinders and helps in reducing the graphene oxide to simple graphene.