The surface force balance (SFB) provides measurements of surface and colloidal forces in liquids such as electrostatic surface forces, van der Waals forces, and solvation forces. Until now, the SFB required mica sheets as the substrate for measurements. This was the only material available in an atomically smooth state over centimeter-scale areas as well as being optically transparent as required for the optical interferometry. By replacing the mica sheets with graphene, electrically conducting and atomically smooth surfaces for the measurement of surface forces have now been created.
Graphene's properties appear to have almost limitless application potential, ranging from composite materials for the aerospace industry, next-generation batteries and supercapacitors, flexible displays and optical electronics and biosensors for applications in healthcare and medical devices. So why hasn't graphene, with the potential to vastly outperform the majority of currently available materials, been integrated into everything from wristwatches to ocean liners?
The successful implementation of graphene-based devices invariably requires the precise patterning of graphene sheets at both the micrometer and nanometer scale. Finding the ideal technique to achieve the desired graphene patterning remains a major challenge. Researchers have now demonstrated 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene using a new 3D printing technique. The method exploits a size-controllable liquid meniscus to fabricate 3D reduced graphene oxide nanowires.
Studying the complex wiring of neural circuits and identifying the details of how individual neural circuits operate in epilepsy and other neurological disorders requires real-time observation of their locations, firing patterns, and other factors. These observations depend on high-resolution optical imaging and electrophysiological recording. Researchers have now developed a completely transparent graphene microelectrode that allows for simultaneous optical imaging and electrophysiological recordings of neural circuits.
Researchers are confident that graphene may outperform existing transparent conductive materials. However, monolayer graphene might not be sufficient for fabricating a highly conductive electrode. The dilemma is that the transmittance of graphene film decreases as the number of layers increases. It therefore is of great importance to have a fast and reliable method to determine the number of layers in the fabrication and measurement of multilayer graphene.
Molybdenum disulfide's (MoS2) semiconducting ability, strong light-matter interaction and similarity to graphene makes it of interest to scientists as a viable alternative in the manufacture of electronics, particularly photoelectronics. In pushing towards practical optical applications of two-dimensional (2D) MoS2, an essential gap on understanding the nonlinear optical response of 2D MoS2 and how it interacts with light, must be filled.
Among the various robotic actuation mechanisms driven by different stimuli, light-driven systems have garnered more and more attention due to their advantages in wireless/remote control, localized rather than whole-field driven capabilities, and electrical/mechanical decoupling. Inspired by the photothermal effect of graphene in biomedical applications, researchers have now demonstrated an easily fabricated and remote/wireless control light-driven approach to actuation mechanism based on graphene nanocomposites.
Graphene laminate - multilayer stacks of graphene layers piled on top of each other - is a promising material for thermal coating applications. Researchers have investigated thermal conductivity of graphene laminate films deposited on PET substrates. They found that the compressed laminates have higher thermal conductivity for the same average flake size owing to better flake alignment. This shows a possibility of up to 600-times enhancement of the thermal conductivity of plastic materials by coating them with the thin graphene laminate films.