Graphene has unique and outstanding properties that present it as a metal with huge potential in producing various technological devices. These properties include extreme thinness, electrical and thermal conductivity, light, transparent and the fact that it is far much stronger than silicon. However, in spite of these properties, graphene has not yet been used for these technological devices due to a number of practical challenges.
One of the practical challenges is the thermal conductivity of graphene especially for fabricated devices. In this case, the graphene must be supported o a substrate, which reduces the thermal conductivity of the metal. High thermal conductivity is very important for any electronic device. To address this problem, researchers are considering new ways of supporting graphene with the macroscopic world such as using a three-dimensional interconnected graphene form structures. They can also make use of an ultra-thin graphite structure or a hexagonal boron nitride whose structures are close to graphene.
Another problem with graphene is melting because it has to be coated with plastics. With increase in temperatures, the elastic polymer substrate can turn into a rubber-like or molten substance that breaks electronic substances established on top and make the tiny conducting wires connecting electronic devices to fail. This problem, according to Li Shi a mechanical engineer at the University of Texas at Austin, says that the problem can be addressed by enhancing the quality of interface in order to boost the conductance of the interface.
Shi and his research team also suggest that the thermal energy storage of graphene could also be enhanced to address the practical challenges. For instance, manufacturers can make use of ultrathin graphene foams to enhance the power capacity of devices made from graphene. This would be achieved by amplifying the rate at which heat is charged and discharged into the phase alteration materials that are used for storing thermal energy. Another breakthrough lies in understanding the concept of fundamental energy carriers and their scattering such as photons, electrons, and molecules. Understanding the concept of photon scattering can help in understanding lattice waves and eventually address the problem with thermal conductivity when other materials support graphene.
Samsung have also made a breakthrough in identifying how to use graphene in real-world devices. This new technology will focus on developing high quality crystal graphene built on silicon wafers. This will see production of graphene that is appropriate for production of graphene field-effect transistors (GFETs). Even when the graphene has peeled off, the silicon wafers can be recycled for another production.