Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Energy Efficiency

Big News from the Nano-World of Graphene Means New Life for Moore’s Law

Researchers at the University of South Florida manipulate graphene sheets to produce one dimensional nanowires

Almost 50 years ago, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore came up with a little idea called Moore’s Law, which basically says that computer processors roughly double in efficiency every two years due to advances in technology along with affordability.  So how much smaller, faster and cheaper can computers go?  Lots, if graphene, the nanomaterial of the new millennium, has anything to say about that.


Discovered just a few years ago, graphene is only the thickness of one atom but it scores on strength and it can function as a conductor.  One difficulty to overcome, though, is manipulating “raw” graphene on an atomic level to create a useful material.   With support from the National Science Foundation, researchers at the University of South Florida have accomplished a breakthrough of sorts by developing a way to form precise graphene “nanowires” that are just a few atoms across.

Graphene Nanowires and Sustainable Computers

The ability to construct nanoscale components for electronic devices can’t come a moment too soon.  The world is already awash in e-waste, and energy use by computers and data centers is surging.  That trend will continue as computers become integrated into more aspects of life in the developed world, and as more people in the developing world enter the consumer marketplace — unless electronic devices become significantly smaller, lighter and more energy efficient.

Graphene – What’s the Catch?

Yes, there is always a catch.   Although some researchers have developed methods for producing graphene in bulk, the material is difficult to manipulate with precision.  One possible solution has been devised at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where researchers have used nano-sized water droplets as chaperones to coax graphene into complex shapes.  At the University of South Florida, researchers were able to construct nanowires by bonding two half-sheets of graphene edge to edge.  Instead of forming a seamless whole, the two halves are separated by a defect that emerges in the atomic structure of the graphene sheet, forming a continuous line just a few atoms across.  The researchers were able to confirm that this line functions as a nanowire, with its own periodic atomic structure and metallic properties.

Don’t Forget about Carbon Nanotubes

With all the excitement over graphene it’s easy to forget that other new-millenium nanomaterial, carbon nanotubes.   Though the two materials handle quite differently, there are some parallels in the emerging developments.  Researchers are finding ways to produce carbon nanotubes of different types in bulk, which could significantly lower the cost of production, and at the University of San Diego researchers have found that defective carbon nanotubes can be more efficient at storing energy than their flawless counterparts.

Image: Graphene nanowire, artist conception courtesy of the National Science Foundation.


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like


Tiny Luxembourg aims to dominate the graphene nanotube market for next-generation EV batteries and other sustainable tech.

Clean Power

Brothers in Rice lab find audio from graphene production contains valuable data Originally published on Rice University, Rice News. By Mike Williams It may...


The race is on to build the solar-powered Evs of the future, and it looks like graphene and TMDs could get the ball rolling.


The Mastering of the Electric Power That Controls the Batteries and Motors of Electric Vehicles

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.