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In the worlds of Solid-State Physics and Materials Science, it is pretty common for exciting materials phenomenon to be predicted before they’re ever experimentally verified in the physical world. However, this typically occurs years, decades, or even centuries before commercial applications become viable and sustainable businesses can be formed. Many times, these jumps from prediction to demonstration to commercialization are never truly made.

Accelerating the 2D Unicorn

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

The hottest field in the world of advanced materials today is 3D printing. But this has been a long time coming. Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research first developed additive manufacturing equipment and materials in1981. This original work closely resembles the stereolithography technique pioneered by Charles Hull that remains a dominant technique today. Despite the promising future at the time of this original work, it wasn’t until 27 years later, in 2008, that the additive manufacturing industry finally surpassed one billion dollars in revenue, a key threshold in becoming mainstream. Borrowing from Silicon Valley, I’ll use the term “revenue unicorn” for this milestone. Since that time, there has been no looking back.

Please complete the following statement with the most correct answer:

As ____________ as Sugar?

(a) Sweet
(b) Conductive
(c) Energy Dense
(d) All of the above

I don't know about you, but when I think of sugar (particularly at this time of year) it can be bittersweet – especially when I'm trying to zip up those skinny jeans. After a holiday season of indulgence – and a box of Valentines Day chocolates within arms reach it's hard to think of sugar as relating to anything other than confections (or correlated with gym memberships).

Oh, the Places Graphene'll Go!

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

From advanced composite additives for polypropylene
To transistors and transparent conductors nearly unseen
Possibilities almost limitless, conjugatively bound only by dreams

The anticipation is palpable; industry and academia set afire
All over this carbon allotrope, this atomic-scale chicken wire

The March of Carbon

Posted by on in Sustainability

Carbon is the stuff of life! A vital element in nature, it is also one of the most abundant elements and present in every life form. Indeed, we, humans, have been classified as "carbon units" by V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It is a sort of friendly element, easily reacting with other elements, resulting in a library of millions of compounds. While carbon has been used since prehistoric times, it took thousands of years to discover the various forms or allotropes known to us today. Carbon's ubiquitous nature also gives rise to the so-called carbon cycle, a biogeochemical process involving the cycling of carbon atoms between earth and its atmosphere. Recognition as an element came in the eighteenth century and a carbon isotope forms the basis of the carbon dating (Nobel Prize in 1960) technology so critical to archeology.