a more complex hydrogenation process
for graphene. Current methods involve
growing the atom-thick graphene layer
first, then treating one side of it with
hydrogen. The hope is to grow the graphene and its hydrogen layer together.
If the thermodynamics work out, Gupta
says, this approach might permit hydrogenating both sides of the graphene
simultaneously. For it to be effective,
the process would need to be reproducible on a scale large enough to measure
magnetism or band gap using traditional methods. These might include
magnetometry or electrical transport methods instead of the advanced
microscopy techniques used to verify
recent hydrogenation advances.
This new ability to magnetize graphene or open a semiconducting gap
will make applications of this technology more competitive with existing methods, Gupta predicts. He
notes that Samsung already is growing Steven
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This experimental scanning
tunneling microscope image
shows hydrogen atoms atop
graphene. Developing methods
of manipulating these atoms
could lead to a plethora of
devices and applications.
1-foot-square sheets of graphene on
copper foil to serve as a transparent
conductor in displays.
Only a couple of proofs of principle remain before graphene begins
its march to the marketplace, Gupta
states. Overall, researchers are close
to being able to scale up graphene
applications—some may be achievable
within three years. Some prototypes,
such as flexible displays using graphene
as the electrode, already are in hand.
“There are so many different kinds of
applications. There are actually a lot of
incentives for industrializing this process,” he warrants.