Looking back, 2017 was a great year for advances in graphene research. Lightweight and flexible, yet durable, graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. The material has been used to better solar panel technology, to enhance medical devices, and for the overall benefit of chemical and industrial processes. Nature Research presents a curated collation of graphene papers from our journals’ research portfolio during 2017.
Nature Communications – PEGylated graphene oxide elicits strong immunological responses despite surface passivation
Altmetric Score: 172
In the case of cancer treatment, to target specific tumours in the body, researchers have developed techniques where drug molecules are attached directly to the surface of a graphene sheets. Combining the nanomaterial and the drug molecules, these “nanotherapies” could help clinicians treat tumours by transporting the drugs directly to the tumours, where they can be released onto the cancer cells to help fight the disease. The findings are reported in Nature Communications.
Nature Communications – p-wave triggered superconductivity in single-layer graphene on an electron-doped oxide superconductor
Altmetric Score: 292
Researchers have found a way to trigger the innate, but previously hidden, ability of graphene to act as a superconductor – meaning that it can be made to carry an electrical current with zero resistance. The finding, reported in Nature Communications, further enhances the potential of graphene, which is already widely seen as a material that could revolutionise industries such as healthcare and electronics.
Nature Nanotechnology – Tunable sieving of ions using graphene oxide membranes
Altmetric Score: 1032
A study published in Nature Nanotechnology describes a graphene membrane that can desalinate seawater, potentially offering easy and accessible potable water globally. The filtration system works by precisely controlling the membrane’s pore size to sieve common salts out of salty water.
Altmetric Score: 152
A novel cost-effective method that uses graphene as a “copy machine” to transfer intricate crystalline patterns from an underlying semiconductor wafer to a top layer of identical material is reported in Nature. Researchers worked out carefully controlled procedures to place single sheets of graphene onto an expensive wafer, and then grew semiconducting material over the graphene layer. The findings indicate that graphene is thin enough to appear electrically invisible, allowing the top layer to see through the graphene to the underlying crystalline wafer, imprinting its patterns without being influenced by the graphene.
Nature Photonics – Broadband image sensor array based on graphene–CMOS integration
Altmetric Score: 247
A paper published in Nature Photonics, describes a method that combines a graphene semi-conductor device with quantum dots to create an array of photodetectors, producing a high resolution image sensor. When used as a digital camera this device is able to sense UV, visible and infrared light at the same time. This is just one example of how this device might be used, others include in microelectronics, sensor arrays and low-power photonics.
Nature Communications – Graphene balls for lithium rechargeable batteries with fast charging and high volumetric energy densities
Altmetric score: 246
Researchers have developed a unique “graphene ball”, designed to increase battery capacity by 45 per cent, according to a paper published in Nature Communications. While current research initiatives have advanced the technology behind lithium-ion batteries, these developments must often sacrifice capacity over charging speed, and vice versa.
Nature Nanotechnology – Ultrahard carbon film from epitaxial two-layer graphene
Altmetric score: 220
A study published in Nature Nanotechnology describes a process for creating diamene: flexible, layered sheets of graphene that temporarily become harder than diamond and impenetrable upon impact. Researchers worked to theorize and test how two layers of graphene could be made to transform into a diamond-like material upon impact at room temperature. They also found the moment of conversion resulted in a sudden reduction of electric current, suggesting diamene could have interesting electronic and spintronic properties. The new findings will likely have applications in developing wear-resistant protective coatings and ultra-light bullet-proof films.
Nature Communications – Integrated arrays of air-dielectric graphene transistors as transparent active-matrix pressure sensors for wide pressure ranges
Altmetric Score: 151
Researchers have created a three-dimensional, tactile sensor that could detect wide pressure ranges from human body weight to a finger touch. Using highly-conductive and transparent graphene transistors with air-dielectric layers, the sensor can detect different types of touch-including swiping and tapping. Reported in Nature Communications, the apparatus is capable of generating an electrical signal based on the sensed touch actions while consuming far less electricity than conventional pressure sensors.
Scientific Reports – Multi-frequency sound production and mixing in graphene
Altmetric score: 160
A pioneering new technique that encourages graphene to “talk” could revolutionise the global audio and telecommunications industries, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Researchers devised a method to use graphene to generate complex and controllable sound signals. In essence, it combines speaker, amplifier and graphic equaliser into a chip the size of a thumbnail.
Nature Communications – Room temperature organic magnets derived from sp3 functionalized graphene
Altmetric Score: 540
By using graphene treated with other non-metallic elements, researchers have devised the first non-metallic magnet that retains its magnetic properties up to room temperature, reports a study published in Nature Communications. Such chemically modified magnetic graphene has a vast range of potential applications, particularly in the fields of biomedicine and electronics.