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Latest innovation can be game changer for flexible electronics, solar cells

A researcher works in a laboratory at the National Institute for Medical Research in London April 27, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN HEALTH SCI TECH)
A researcher works in a laboratory at the National Institute for Medical Research in London April 27, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN HEALTH SCI TECH)

Washington: A team of scientists has come up with a new research that could revolutionize flexible electronics and solar cells.

Binghamton University researchers have demonstrated an eco-friendly process that enables unprecedented spatial control over the electrical properties of graphene oxide. This two-dimensional nanomaterial has the potential to revolutionize flexible electronics, solar cells and biomedical instruments.

By using the probe of an atomic force microscope to trigger a local chemical reaction, Jeffrey Mativetsky and Austin Faucett showed that electrically conductive features as small as four nanometers can be patterned into individual graphene oxide sheets. One nanometer is about one hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Their approach makes it possible to draw nanoscale electrically-conductive features in atomically-thin insulating sheets with the highest spatial control reported so far, said Mativetsky, adding that unlike standard methods for manipulating the properties of graphene oxide, their process can be implemented under ambient conditions and is environmentally-benign, making it a promising step towards the practical integration of graphene oxide into future technologies.

The study provides new insight into the spatial resolution limits and mechanisms for a relatively new process for patterning conductive regions in insulating graphene oxide. The minimum conductive feature size of four nanometers is the smallest achieved so far by any method for this material.

Mativetsky said this approach is promising for lab-scale prototyping of nanoscale conductive patterns in graphene oxide, noting “There is significant interest in defining regions with different functionalities, and writing circuitry into two-dimensional materials. Our approach provides a way to directly pattern electrically-conductive and insulating regions into graphene oxide with high spatial resolution.”

This research not only enables fundamental study of the nanoscale physical properties of graphene oxide but also opens up new avenues for incorporating graphene oxide into future technologies.

The study appears in Carbon. (ANI)