Graphene – the fashionable material discovered more than a decade ago – is destined to be one of the protagonists of the future in nanotechnology and is likely to establish the basis for technology on our future smartphones.
By definition, Graphene is “a material that is extremely thin and more resistant than steel” and will make possible, among other applications, faster microchips, and flexible, transparent screens.
Research into the properties of graphene, a material that is just one atom thick but is harder than diamond, is at an intermediate stage. However, the research is at an ideal stage to make predictions about what the next technology will be like.
In addition to being a good conductor of electricity, Graphene has fantastic properties such as transparency and flexibility, properties that will be used in screens, processors and batteries.
Nowadays, the battery is the Trojan horse of our mobile devices and an area where the industry offers little innovation. Lithium-ion batteries run out quickly with an intensive use of the smartphone and also take a long time to charge.
IBM was among the first to unveil its project to develop a processor based on graphene, taking advantage of the fact that the material consumes less energy than traditional silicon. However, the new material presents the problem that it is not able to stop driving electricity: that is, it cannot be turned off.
Scientists at the University of California have investigated the application of graphene in a large capacitor that would cause a battery to charge in less than a minute and last a day. The capacitor charges very fast, but has a limited capacity, so graphene would come into play at this point. Additionally, as Graphene is also flexible, and in addition to the screen, the battery in a smartphone or tablet that could be completely folded.
At some technology fairs, such as CES 2013, prototypes of flexible smartphones screens have been exhibited, based on OLED technology, which can be folded and rolled without losing any of their portability. This type of screen generates sharper images than those of LCD technology, is much thinner, and requires less energy costs, however their production is more expensive.
At this point, it is evident that Graphene could be the material of the future, as you could place a sheet of graphene over a panel of pixels and give rise to a flexible quality screen, in addition to being a good electrical conductor without releasing heat.
However, the problem resides in the production of Graphene in large quantities due to high costs. Scientist are trying to solve this matter and produce graphene in large quantities within a high cost and optimum yield. With all this thing in mind, it is likely that we can expect great things from graphene in the coming years.
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