This new breakthrough fabrication process uses nanostructure coating. It forms intrinsic bonds between Graphene and Nanostructures and produces high-quality, low cost graphene that could make it go mainstream.
A thin layer – so thin that you can’t feel it if you place in on your fingers – of pure carbon that is 200 times stronger than steel and an extraordinary conductor of heat and electricity.
Apart from that, as it’s a carbon based product that is fourth most abundant element of our universe hence, unlike metal it has no degradation issues like corrosion, thermal expansion or contraction, sensitivity to radiation etc.
Yes you guessed it right. We are, today, talking about Graphene the wonder material of our age.
Lots of researches, in laboratories around the globe, are going on to put Graphene into commercial use. Samsung, that is chipping in to the research for a long time and has more 234 patents that includes 73 granted and 161 non-granted patents, filed a new patent application last week.
The patent application claims a fabrication process of a hybrid nanostructure-graphene film. A succinct process of fabrication is provided below. You can get an access to the full patent from here.
The Fabrication Process of Graphene-based Hybrid Thin Films
The process, as per the patent, to prepare the graphene-based hybrid films starts with coating conductive nanostructures (such as carbon nanotubes or conductive nanowires) on a metallic foil. The foil that acts as a substrate can be made either of silver, copper , nickel , or of nickel-copper alloy.
The nanostructures coated on the foil are then annealed at the graphene deposition temperature (from 500 to 1080 degree Celsius). Annealing is a process in which a metal is heated to a specific temperature first and then it’s allowed to cool slowly.
During the annealing process, carbon atoms from the nanostructure diffuse into the metal foil. These diffused carbon atoms then act as a source for the nucleation and growth of Graphene during the CVD process.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is a chemical process for producing high quality solid materials. It works by combining gas molecules in a reaction chamber. You can explore more about CVD from here.
In the meantime, a carbon source (such as, for example, methane) is fed into the CVD chamber. It deposits Graphene on the metallic foil. This leads to the formation of intrinsic bonding between the carbon nanotubes and the newly grown Graphene.
In last step, doping may optionally be performed to improve performance of the hybrid films.
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The Advantages of Samsung’s Hybrid Thin Film of Graphene:
Strong Intrinsic Bonding: The formation of intrinsic bonding between carbon nanotubes and Graphene is one of the major advantages of this technique. At present, the other process of graphene fabrication involves formation of weak Van Der Waals forces that has its own limitations.
Improved Electrical and Mechanical Properties: The comparatively strong intrinsic bonding improves the electrical properties of Graphene. Contrast to the prevalent Graphene films that are brittle and easily broken, the hybrid graphene films are reinforced by the carbon nanotube layer, resulting in improved mechanical properties.
Fast Fabrication at Low Cost: At present, to transfer Graphene from the metallic foil, etching is used that involves removing graphene from metallic surface by using a chemical solution. The process of etching is expensive and slow that takes hours.
The problem becomes graver in the multi-layer stacking where etching is required multiple times. This leads to increase in cost and time, which in turns renders Graphene impractical for large scale industrial applications.
On the other hand, Samsung’s invention requires only one-time etching. This thereby saves a great deal of time and cost and opens the door for the large scale production of Graphene.
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