Feature Article

April 11, 2014

Samsung's Graphene Breakthrough Could Mean Lighter, Faster Electronics

Graphene is made of a single layer of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons, making graphene one million times thinner than paper – so thin that it is actually considered two dimensional.

Graphene has quickly become an emerging option for the tech market because of its strength and because of how thin it is – which makes it easily bendable without breaking.  In 2013, researchers suggested graphene could boost Internet speeds, extend the life of a computer and serve as a touch sensitive coating.

Up until now, researchers have found that the process of synthesizing small graphene particles to produce large-area grapheme, deteriorated the mechanical properties of the material, limiting its application range and making it difficult to commercialize.

So when Samsung Electronics announced earlier this week that the company has developed a breakthough synthesis method to speed the commercialization of graphene, it turned some heads within the industry. The electronics giant has thrown a lot of money into research and development to commercialize the material, no doubt so that it can be incorporated into many of Samsung's devices.

The material's conductivity would make fully charging a device take mere minutes (if that), and its strength and flexibility provide near endless options for the next-generation of the Samsung product line.

“This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history,” said the laboratory leaders at Samsung Advance Institute of Technology.

Processor manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Intel are also paying attention to Samsung's latest development, as graphene allows electrons to flow through it 100 times easier than they do in silicon, making it a lucrative alternative to current technology.

While we can expect Samsung's breakthrough to no doubt affect its future flagship Galaxy S series of devices, there is still no word from Samsung or Sungkyunkwan University - the company's partner in this effort - as to whether the new process will be made available to all or remain proprietary.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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