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Direct Low Cost Production of Graphene Platelets

Technology #012-033-keidar

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Researchers
Dr. Michael Keidar
Dr. Alexey Shashurin
Managed By
Jerry Comanescu
Licensing Associate jcomanescu@gwu.edu (202) 994-8975
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending
Publications
Simultaneous Synthesis of Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene in a Magnetically-enhanced Arc Plasma
Journal of Visualized Experiments, J. Vis. Exp. (60), e3455, DOI : 10.3791/3455 (2012).

In the last ten years graphene has exploded on the scientific scene with its myriad of novel and exciting properties.  Graphene has, to name a few of these properties, very high electrical conductivity, superior strength (fifty times stronger than steel), chemical stability, extremely high surface area, and very high thermal conductivity.  Structurally it is sheet of carbons atoms one atom thick. 

These properties have led to interest in using it in an extraordinary range of products:

  • Flatter LCDs
  • Improved printing primers
  • Chemical sensors
  • Improved electrical circuits
  • Structural modification in composite materials

However, before finding widespread application in many of these areas, it is necessary to develop a lower cost, scalable production process. 

Researchers at George Washington University have developed a novel process that uses a relatively low power plasma arc to directly produce a high yield (up to 95%) of graphene platelets, in a range of thicknesses from one to tens of layers thick, though any suitable thickness for a desired application can be achieved.  The apparatus avoids extremely low pressures, expensive or hazardous raw materials.  The raw material is pure carbon, inexpensive and readily available.   All of these elements contribute to cost savings.  The product appears to be particularly well suited for use in electrodes for batteries or super capacitors, and for structural composites. 

By using a direct arc plasma process, there is no need for complex, expensive chemical reagents that might be required by a chemical vapor deposition process.  Similarily, the ingeniously simple mechanical collection process avoids the complex, and apparently costly exfoliation process that is often required in graphene production.  Electric power consumption is low.

Applications:

  • Scale-up of simple, low cost, graphene platelet production
  • New production technology, especially for structural composites

Advantages:

  • Relatively uncomplicated, direct and low cost production approach
  • Inexpensive, readily available raw materials
  • Moderate vacuum operation
  • Product range is particularly well-suited to composite materials