November 16, 2012

ORNL pushes the boundaries of electron microscopy to unlock the potential of graphene

Electron microscopy at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is providing unprecedented views of the individual atoms in graphene, offering scientists a chance to unlock the material's full potential for uses from engine combustion to consumer electronics.

Graphene crystals were first isolated in 2004. They are two-dimensional (one-atom in thickness), harder than diamonds and far stronger than steel, providing unprecedented stiffness, electrical and thermal properties. By viewing the atomic and bonding configurations of individual graphene atoms, scientists are able to suggest ways to optimize materials so they are better suited for specific applications.