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Graphene conductive ink

Graphene is the name given to a flat monolayer of carbon atoms tightly packed into a two-dimensional (2D) honeycomb lattice and is a basic building block for graphitic materials of all other dimensionalities including 0D fullerenes, 1D nanotubes  and 3D graphite. It has several remarkable properties such as large 2D electrical conductivity,  large surface area, high elasticity, high thermal conductivity, high optical transparency, high mechanical strength (almost 200 times stronger than steel), and tunable bandgap. In addition, it can be produced from graphite at a low cost with no metallic impurities. 

Graphene can be prepared by several methods including micromechanical cleavage, epitaxial growth via ultra-high vacuum graphitation, chemical synthesis through oxidation of graphite, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), solvothermal synthesis and electrolytic exfoliation. Among these, electrolytic exfoliation is a promising method for graphene production because it produces stable graphene nanoparticle in aqueous solution and it can be easily scaled up for large scale production at low cost.

Recently, researcher from Nanoelectronics and MEMS laboratory at the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) has developed transparent graphene-polymer conductive ink based on a one-step electrolytic exfoliation process, which is simpler and more practical than other research groups that make similar conductive ink by dispersion of graphene nanoflake powder into PEDOT/PSS. The graphene-polymer conductive ink can be an important milestone for Thailand's electronic and energy industries because grapheme-polymer dispersed solution can be highly useful for printed electronics. The graphene ink is expected to revolutionize the electronic industry in Thailand. Some important applications for graphene conductive ink include transparent electrodes to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) for flexible displays, catalytic electrodes for batteries and active semiconducting layer of high performance nanotransistors/nanomemory devices whose critical dimension is reduced down to 10 nanometres and operating frequency is over 100 GHz.

Currently, nanoelectronics and MEMS laboratory (NECTEC) transfers the graphene-polymer conductive ink technology to innophene Inc. (thailand) who will further develop the technology for commercial applications. This technology is an important landmark, which demonstrates that Thailand has uplifted its high-end technological capability and the country is now worthy for the investment in upstream electronic industries.


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