Research

Growing graphene on molten bed

DEC . 04 2015
Peking University, Dec 1, 2015: When graphene was first isolated in 2004, the whole scientific community was excited. They had good reasons to celebrate: for one thing, graphene had been theorized about for decades and it is difficult to imagine the good stability in terms of its structure and properties in ambient condition; and for another thing, graphene shows many extraordinary properties – 207 times stronger than steel, excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and nearly transparent. Many people believe it is going to change our world.
 
Despite graphene’s promising features, it is extremely difficult to produce large-area and high-quality graphene sheets. Liu Zhongfan, professor of the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, and his team became game-changer in 2014. They and other groups proposed direct chemical vapor deposition (CVD) growth of graphene on solid dielectric substrates, a novel method that bypasses traditional synthetic difficulties. Previously, synthesis of large area graphene has to go through a tedious and disruptive transfer process to detach the underlying metal substrates.
 
Now Liu’s group pushes their method further – growing graphene on commercial soda-lime glass. Yes, that is the cheap, widely used glass we see every day. Researchers first melt the glass to produce a molten bed. In the next step, they allow graphene film to be grown on the molten glasses. The outcome of this process is amazing – the resulting graphene disk is uniform, continuous and could be used in small heating devices. This transparent sheet looksfrom its appearance like a thin piece of glass. Interestingly, we makesoda-lime glass on a bed of molten tin; and now we make graphene glass on a bed of molten glass. Liu’s team keeps improving their approaches. We are expecting the next.
 
Their findings were published in Advanced Materials; the recent issue of Nature Materials highlighted their success.
 
Their work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant Nos. 2013CB932603, 2012CB933404, 2011CB921903, and 2013CB934600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51432002, 51290272, 51121091, 51222201, and 11222434), the Ministry of Education (Grant No. 20120001130010), and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Planning Project (Grant No. Z151100003315013).
 
 

Figure a) Schematic of graphene growth on molten glass.
 
 


Figure b) An as-grown graphene glass plate.

(These two pictures are from Zhongfan Liu et al.;"Growing Uniform Graphene Disks and Films on Molten Glass for heating Devices and Cell Culture", Adv Mater. 2015 Oct 20. doi:10.1002/adma.201504229)
 
For the original Advanced Materials paper, please click:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201504229/abstract

Reported by: LI Yike
Edited by: Zhang Jiang