Scientists have figured out a way to produce wonder-material graphene in much more cheaply eco-friendly material with the help of bacteria.
When mixed with oxidised graphite, which is relatively easy to produce, the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis removes most of the oxygen groups and leaves conductive graphene behind as a result.
Using this process, we might be able to create graphene at the sort of scale necessary for the next generation of computing and medical devices utilising graphene’s powerful mix of strength, flexibility, and conductivity.
Using the new method, Meyer and her colleagues were able to make graphene that’s thinner, more stable, and longer-lasting than graphene that’s produced by chemically manufacturing.
It could be used in field-effect transistor (FET) biosensors, devices that detect particular biological molecules, such as glucose monitoring for diabetics.
This kind of graphene material could also be used as a conductive ink in circuit boards, in computer keyboards, or even in small wires to defrost car windshields. If needed, the bacteria process can be tweaked to produce graphene that’s only conductive on one side.
As this is the first study to investigate the bacteria approach, plenty more research will need to be done before it can be scaled up and used to build the next generation of laptops. Nonetheless, the future of this incredible material continues to look bright.