Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Energy Efficiency

Graphene "Bubbles" Could Be Stepping Stones to High Efficiency Electronics

researchers discover strong electron movement in graphene nanobubblesA team of researchers has discovered that graphene can be stretched to create tiny nanobubbles in which electrons generate the same energy levels that otherwise would require an extremely strong magnetic field. The discovery provides a clue to the manipulation of electrons in graphene, which in turn could lead to a new generation of ultra-small, ultra-efficient electronic devices.

[social_buttons]

Like it or not, the global tide of electronic gear appears to be only at the beginning of a long and unstoppable rise, creating an enormous obstacle to the delivery of enough sustainable energy to meet the growing demand. One solution is to create a new electronics platform that is far more efficient than anything currently in production, and that’s where graphene comes in.

Graphene and Energy Efficiency

Graphene was discovered just a few years ago, and researchers are only beginning to unlock its potential for improving energy efficiency in electronics.  Graphene is a form of carbon that occurs in sheets just one atom thick.  The atoms form a hexagonal pattern similar to chicken wire.  Graphene is superstrong and could function as an extraordinarily efficient conductor – if only it can be manipulated into a useful form. One solution is being developed at the University of South Florida, where researchers supported by the National Science Foundation have developed a method for making graphene “nanowires.” At Rice University, researchers are looking into the use of graphene’s sister material, graphane, as an insulator, and chemists at the University of Chicago are developing ways to coax graphene into shapes by applying drops of water.

Strain and Energy Efficiency

The “bubble” discovery was one of those happy accidents.  It occurred when researchers grew graphene on a platinum crystal, which threw the hexagonal pattern out of whack.  That resulted in triangular “bubbles” that have their own individual energy levels, in contrast to a continuous range of energy across an unstrained sheet of graphene. The application of atomic-level strain to achieve new physical properties in a material is not limited to graphene.  At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers applied a phenomenon called lattice strain to yttria-stabilized zirconia (yttrium is a silvery metal) and discovered that the new configuration increased the material’s conductivity by four orders of magnitude.

Image: Bubbles by Jeff Kubina on flickr.com.

 
 
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+.

Comments

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

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

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

Clean Transport

Graphene is the nanomaterial of the next millennium and it could make the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle dream come true.

Clean Power

The killer solar cell combo of perovskite and graphene is about to shake off the laboratory dust and venture out into the field.

Clean Power

Researchers at MIT have created a thermal resonator, a device that can harvest electricity from changes in temperature. While early prototypes only generate a...

Batteries

Has Samsung SDI finally cracked the puzzle of how to commercialize graphene batteries? A new study published in the journal Nature raises some interesting...

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.