Scientists create graphene using lasers and wood

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,606   +124
Staff member

Scientists at Rice University have succeeded in creating graphene out of a highly renewable and common resource – wood.

In 2014, a team of chemists led by James Tour at the school developed a process to make a 3D graphene foam by heating a polymer surface with a laser. It’s this technique, dubbed laser-induced graphene (LIG), that was utilized in the latest advancement.

As New Atlas highlights, the issue with LIG is that it can only be created using a specific type of plastic called polyimide… that is, until recently.

The team at Rice eventually realized that some types of wood – pine, for example – have a similar mechanical structure to polyimide. Armed with that knowledge, they used an industrial laser to heat a piece of pine inside an oxygen-free environment which caused the surface of the wood to flake up into graphene foam.

Through trial and error, they found that 70 percent laser power produced the best possible pine laser-induced graphene, or P-LIG.

While additional work is needed, the team ultimately hopes that wood could one day help reduce the growing e-waste issue.

"Graphene is a thin sheet of a naturally occurring mineral, graphite, so we would be sending it back to the ground from which it came along with the wood platform instead of to a landfill full of electronics parts," Tour said.

Full details on the technique have been published in the academic journal Advanced Materials.

Permalink to story.

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,493   +5,995
Keep hearing how great the stuff is, certainly will be interesting when they actually use it for something ......
 
  • Like
Reactions: stewi0001

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,639   +928
Keep hearing how great the stuff is, certainly will be interesting when they actually use it for something ......
No so much 'lack of use', but 'impossible to produce'. It has uses in batteries and microelectronics, but we don't have a way to make enough of it in a form that is actually useful and is also cost effective.