Two of the different shapes in which graphene grains can form, using traditional production methods (Image: ORNL)
Graphene, the "wonder material" composed of single-atom-thick carbon sheets, is currently finding its way into a variety of electronic devices including computer chips, capacitors, transistors and batteries, just to name a few. It is typically created using a chemical vapor deposition process, in which carbon-containing gases are made to decompose on a copper foil substrate. The performance of the material may be limited, however, due to the fact that the individual graphene grains in one sheet are not of a consistent size or shape, and usually are larger than a single crystal. That could be about to change, though, as a new production method that utilizes hydrogen gas is promising higher-performance graphene with uniform, single-crystal grains.