What's boiling up in technology - the WEF vision - IV. 2D materials

Potential graphene application areas. Credit: 2D TECH

2D materials, that is materials so thin, just one atom thick, that can be consider to exist in just 2 dimensions, have been studied for the last ten years and the decreasing cost of production is making them available in a variety of application areas from filters for purifying water (and desalinisation) to wearables and batteries.

>>> I am often reporting on advances in graphene and other 2D materials, each one exposing some new interesting property that would be great in certain applications. The problem researchers are still struggling with is to find affordable production processes that can deliver, consistently, high volume. So far this remains a challenge.

We have already application of graphene in areas where there is no need for ordering the nanotubes or the layers in a very precise way and there is no need for ensuring a seamless surface. As an example, the manufacturing of electronic components requires very accurate architecture and this remains a challenge. For filtering an accurate architecture is not needed but it is essential that the layer does not present "holes" through which undesired molecule could go through. Again, it remains difficult to produce, consistently and in volume, such layers.

On other sectors, like painting graphene to protect a surface, we already have industrial processes that are effective.

Personally, I do not see 2D materials having a significant impact in 2016, nor in the next years. We will need to wait till the next decade to see a real impact.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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