Nav: Home

New graphene laser technique opens door for edible electronics

February 28, 2018

Electronics, the lifeblood of the modern world, could soon be part of our daily diet. In a study appearing in ACS Nano, scientists report that they have developed a way to write graphene patterns onto virtually any surface including food. They say the new technique could lay the groundwork for the edible electronics capable of tracing the progression of foods from farm to table, as well as detecting harmful organisms that can cause gastric distress.

Graphene is composed of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb pattern. It is stronger than steel, thinner than a human hair and more conductive than copper, making an ideal building block for the next generation of compact, smart electronics. Several years ago, James M. Tour and colleagues heated the surface of an inexpensive plastic with a laser in air to create something called laser-induced graphene (LIG). LIG is a foam made out of tiny cross-linked graphene flakes. The process can embed or burn patterns that could be used as supercapacitors, radio frequency identification (RFID) antennas or biological sensors. Based on these results, the researchers theorized that any substance with a reasonable amount of carbon can be turned into graphene. To test this theory, Tour's team sought to burn LIG into food, cardboard and several other everyday, carbon-based materials.

The researchers used a single laser pulse to convert the surface layer of the target substance into a disorganized jumble of atoms called amorphous carbon, more commonly known as black soot. Then, they conducted multiple laser passes with a defocused beam to convert the soot into graphene. By defocusing the laser beam, the researchers could speed up the conversion process. And unlike previous LIG processes, the graphene conversions conducted in these experiments were done at room temperature without the need for a controlled atmosphere box. Overall, the process demonstrated that LIG can be burned into paper, cardboard, cloth, coal, potatoes, coconuts, toasted bread and other foods. The researchers say these results suggests that food items could eventually be tagged with RFID antennas made from LIG that could help track where a food originated, how long it's been stored and how it got to the dining table. In addition, they suggest that LIG sensors could be used to uncover E. coli and other harmful organisms lurking in salads, meats and other foods.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Graphene Articles:

Graphene is 3D as well as 2D
Graphene is actually a 3D material as well as a 2D material, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.
Conductivity at the edges of graphene bilayers
For nanoribbons of bilayer graphene, whose edge atoms are arranged in zigzag patterns, the bands of electron energies which are allowed and forbidden are significantly different to those found in monolayer graphene.
How to purify water with graphene
Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology 'MISIS' together with their colleagues from Derzhavin Tambov State University and Saratov Chernyshevsky State University have figured out that graphene is capable of purifying water, making it drinkable, without further chlorination.
Decoupled graphene thanks to potassium bromide
The use of potassium bromide in the production of graphene on a copper surface can lead to better results.
1 + 1 does not equal 2 for graphene-like 2D materials
Physicists from the University of Sheffield have discovered that when two atomically thin graphene-like materials are placed on top of each other their properties change, and a material with novel hybrid properties emerges, paving the way for design of new materials and nano-devices.
More Graphene News and Graphene Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...