Ultrathin film could change the face of electronics

  • South Korea - Scientists in South Korea are working on developing flexible electronics using an ultrathin film which could enable those reading the newspaper online to feel as though they are reading the paper in print via foldable displays.

    Jae-Young Choi of the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology and Keun Soo Kim and Byung Hee Hong of Sungkyunkwan University describe a technique for creating stretchable thin electrodes using graphene in a recently published paper.

    Graphene is a single layer sheet composed of carbon atoms. This sheet has properties that engineers are absolutely enamored by and would love to apply to many uses, however making graphene sheets that are practical in size has been tough to accomplish.

    In an effort to create these graphene sheets, researchers utilized a process called chemical vapor deposition, where methane gas mixed with hydrogen and argon is poured over nickel foil at high temperatures - thus depositing carbon atoms from methane on the nickel.

    After the foil is quickly cooled a couple layers of graphene are obtained. As the researchers etched away the nickel, they found that they were left with an ultrathin film of graphene which acts as a flexible plastic.

    The ultrathin film is almost transparent, and has excellent electrical characteristics. They cannot be harmed by bending or flexing them. Researchers have determined that although it is difficult, the process can be scaled so that creating a larger version of the film can occur.