Graphene is believed to have great potential in manufacturing applications including in electronics, defence and sustainable energy.
An atom-thick sheet making up graphite, the two-dimensional material was isolated only in 2003 by two researchers from the University of Manchester.“It is the thinnest material known and yet is also one of the strongest,” explains the university’s website, and is 200 times stronger than steel, harder than diamond, yet still flexible.
Fairfax reports that the material’s excellent conductivity of heat and electricity and other properties are being explored by Australian researchers.
"Our funding pool in Australia is much more limited," Professor Dan Li from Monash University, who leads a team of ten, told Fairfax when describing their research. “But that doesn't mean we can't do something unique. "I wasn't that optimistic about graphene at first," he said. "A lot of promising materials never make it to market."
The successful use of grapheme could lead to the production of high-performance items including ultra-thin computer and TV screens, photovoltaics, and compact, ultra-efficient supercapacitors, as Li’s team has done.