TECH

Samsung Graphene Breakthrough Could Lead To New Generation Of Wearable And Flexible Devices

04/04/2014 11:07 BST | Updated 04/04/2014 11:59 BST
MCT via Getty Images
This is an electron microscope image of individual carbon atoms in a sheet of graphene, the thinnest and strongest material known to science. (Photo by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)

Samsung has unveiled a breakthrough in the commercial production of graphene, a futuristic material which could make possible dramatic advances in consumer and industrial tech.

Graphene is a one-atom-thick material made of carbon, which has several important properties: it is far more conductive than silicon, and is stronger than steel while also remaining flexible.

It has been proposed as a possible material for use in everything from flexible displays to wearable devices.

Unfortunately, commercial production of the material has so far proven elusive even 10 years after its initial discovery in Manchester, a feat which won a Nobel prize for Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov.

But now Samsung has announced what it calls a "ground-breaking" method to commercialise the material.

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), in partnership with Sungkyunkwan University said that it had "uncovered a new method of growing large area, single crystal wafer scale graphene".

The method is the first step to creating large crystals of graphene that maintain its electric properties. You can read Samsung's full announcement of the method over at its website.

Samsung said:

"Over the past several decades, the growth of the semiconductor industry has been driven by the ability to grow the area of a silicon wafer, while steadily decreasing the process node. In order to commercialize graphene to displace the industry’s reliance on silicon, it is vital to develop a new method to grow a single crystal graphene into a large area.

"This breakthrough is a testament to the strengths of the two institutions, who together were able to successfully achieve results that could become a driver of next generation technology."