Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


The "Flat Stanley" Wonder Material Called Graphene Gets a New Sidekick: Graphane

Rice University scientists pair two dimensional graphene with its variant graphaneSince its discovery in 2004, graphene has become the “Flat Stanley” of the sustainable new millennium.  A two-dimensional material that seems to be popping up just about everywhere in nanomaterials research, graphene has wowed scientists with its potential for, among other things, replacing silicon in computer chips as a light, durable, ultra-compact, low cost, high-efficiency conductor.  Now researchers at Rice University have conceived a material that pairs the conducting properties of graphene with an insulating variant called graphane.


Rice University writer Mike Williams, who came up with the Flat Stanley moniker, explains that the new development could lead to an even smaller class of electronics than is possible with graphene alone.  Though a permanent solution to e-waste is years away, at least the graphene-graphane connection could help reduce the sheer bulk of the problem.

Graphene, Meet Graphane

Graphene is composed of carbon atoms in a single layer, that form a pattern similar to a honeycomb.  In graphane, hydrogen atoms are attached to both sides of the carbon sheet, creating a sort of nano-sandwich.  The addition of hydrogen lends the material insulating properties, without interfering with graphene’s legendary strength and flexibility. According to Williams, Rice University scientists have calculated that the properties of a graphane sheet could be manipulated by selectively removing hydrogen atoms, leaving gaps or “wells.”

Graphane, Meet Quantum Dots

The researchers posit that the induced wells in a sheet of graphane would act like quantum dots, or q-dots.  A q-dot is a nanoscale crystal that possesses conductive properties that can be precisely controlled.  Initially q-dots were developed using toxic metals, but non-toxic q-dot materials have been emerging, and Rice’s graphane wells would add an important new option to the list.

Go, Navy!

The Rice University research has been funded by a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, which has been focusing on cutting edge alternative energy and conservation technologies to help lead the civilian sector away from the risks and vulnerabilities of continued dependence on fossil fuels.  In addition to exotics like graphane and microbial fuel cells, the Navy has been aggressively pursuing biofuels, solar energy, high efficiency lighting, and other conservation measures.

Image: Flat Stanley by emples on

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.

New Podcast: Cruise Talks Autonomous Driving Tech, Regulations, & Auto Design

New Podcast: Battery Mineral Mining Policies & Regional Trends

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Climate Change

The threat of a catastrophic failure unleashing a 20-foot wall of industrial wastewater over nearby homes and businesses in Piney Point, Florida, illustrates the danger...

Market Research

NREL Analysts Advance Understanding of Options, Opportunities To Repair, Reuse, or Recycle Solar Photovoltaic System Materials

Clean Power

Unprecedented in scale and the first of its kind — the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100) provides insights into how the Los...


A Novel Pathway for “Drop-In” Sustainable Aviation Fuel May Lift Net-Zero Flights Off the Runway Sooner Than You Think

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.