Graphene Goes Ultra-Thin, Absorbent

SAN FRANCISCO—Researchers at the University of Surrey in the U.K. have developed nanometer-thin graphene sheets that can better absorb light and heat. Traditionally a poor absorber of light, the sheets could power smart wallpaper or other applications in the Internet of Things.

A team at Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) employed nanotexturing, a technique involves growing graphene around a textured metallic surface, to make the sheets. The sheets are 90% more light absorbent than traditional graphene, largely due to nano-patterning to localizes light into the narrow spaces between the textured surface.

Flexible solar cell. Source: University of Surrey

Flexible solar cell. Source: University of Surrey

“Nanotexturing graphene has the effect of channeling the light into the narrow spaces between nanostructures, thereby enhancing the amount of light absorbed by the material,” wrote Dr. José Anguita, the study’s lead author. “Typically a graphene sheet would have 2-3% light absorption. Using this method, our ultrathin coating of nanotextured few-layer graphene absorbs 95% of incident light across a broad spectrum, from the UV to the infrared.”

The nano patterns on the graphene sheets resemble moths’ eyes, which have microscopic patterning that allows them to see in dim conditions.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EE Times.

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