Graphene: first and forthcoming industrial applications
“Now that low cost chemical routes to produce graphene have become available” we wrote in a study published in 2015 (1), “three important technologies, namely cost-effective electricity storage, polymer nanocomposites and environmental remediation” will emerge as the first applications of the atomically thin carbon films known as graphene (a single plane of sp2 carbon bonded atoms in a honeycomb hexagonal lattice) beyond specialty niche markets.
First isolated by Geim, Novoselov and co-workers in 2004 repeating the use of adhesive tape to exfoliate graphite (2), today graphene is manufactured on small industrial scale using widely different graphite exfoliation routes affording graphene and related materials (GRM), chiefly in the form of black, solid powders. Products manufactured in Europe on industrial scale have either low defectivity (percentage of sp2 bonds >95%) featuring low surface area (<200 m2 g−1), or are highly exfoliated but show higher defectivity (3).
Yet, the authors of the benchmark study concluded, “the actual quality of several i ...