The truth has been more complicated – for all graphene’s promise, it’s proven more difficult to engineer than many expected. Now, a team of researchers is claiming to have solved some of graphene’s difficult manufacturing problems and believes they can commercialize the approach.
“To date, mass manufacturing and defect control have been major issues for all graphene manufacturing, to the point that it’s hampered research simply because getting enough high-quality, defect-free graphene for experimentation is both time consuming and expensive. What this new effort has discovered is a method for creating graphene. The researchers worked with a material they call PIM-1 – a polymer of”intrinsic microporosity.
Organic cells tend to be some of the cheapest solar cells, but the inevitable tradeoff is that they also are extremely inefficient – peak single-junction solar cells can reach 22% efficiency and are already available commercially.
Researchers in Ireland are also exploring a method for reliably producing graphene through the application of Scotch Tape.
The team didn’t say what percent of the graphene was defect-free, but they do claim that this new manufacturing method is far simpler and less prone to failure than previous types of graphene production.
According to Dr. Han Ik Joh at the Korean Institute for Science and Technology, graphene can be produced in a similar manner to carbon fiber – and while that’s hardly cheap, it’s still better than our current methods.