Graphene Loophole Could Provide “Clean And Limitless” Energy In The Future
Researchers say they have discovered an unusual property of graphene that means it could be a “clean and limitless” source of energy in the future.
The scientists from the University of Arkansas studied the movement of graphene, the so-called “miracle material” that’s composed of a single layer of carbon atoms, first discovered in 2004.
Its existence is a bit of quandary, however, as graphene is essentially a two-dimensional material that shouldn’t exist. But thanks to a loophole, namely that the carbon atoms that make up graphene are fluctuating, it is able to exist. This is known as Brownian motion.
In this research, published in Physical Review Letters, Paul Thibado from the University of Arkansas and his students observed the movement of graphene under a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). At incredibly small scales, they found there was not only Brownian motion but also larger movements of the graphene sheet itself, with the atoms moving together.
“This is the key to using the motion of 2D materials as a source of harvestable energy,” Thibado said, reported Research Frontiers.