The same university that first isolated graphene, an extraordinary allotrope of carbon, is now planning on releasing the first commercial application of the incredible material later this year — super-efficient light bulbs.
Graphene was discovered by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester in 2004 using a technique that anyone can try. Taking a piece of graphite, like you can find in a pencil, the two scientists got creative — they stuck some tape on it and peeled it off. After repeating this process with the graphite flakes many times, what resulted was a slice of carbon thinner than anything manufactured before it. Eventually the duo got these layers of carbon down to single sheets of carbon atoms, and a Nobel Prize in 2010.
The thinnest material in the universe has extraordinary properties. It’s 100 times stronger than steel by weight, more conductive than copper, and is nearly transparent. Since graphene was exfoliated from graphite, scientists around the world have been exploring its limits and potential applications. But the first commercial application of graphene it set to come later this year from the very same University that discovered it.
Manchester University reports that the university, partnered with the National Graphene Institute, will begin offering a graphene-based light bulb later this year. The bulb will feature a graphene-coated LED shaped into the filament, which will be up to 10 percent more efficient than traditional LEDs.
The graphene light bulb will be priced similarly to other LEDs, last longer, and will use more sustainable materials. First there will need to be a process by which graphene can be made cheaply and in large quantities. But from there, it seems like the sky’s the limit for what graphene will be used for next.
IMAGE: Graphene by