Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee claim to have discovered a new carbon material that should push graphene-based electronics much closer to commercial reality.
Graphene Monoxide (GMO) can be scaled into mass production much easier than pure graphene, said says Junhong Chen, professor of mechanical engineering and a member of the research team at UWM. He also confirmed that GMO is semiconducting, which expands the use of graphene beyond conductors and insulators.
According to scientists, GMO complements the characteristics of the existing graphene and enables the material family to be a complete solution for future electronic devices. GMO's foundation is the insulator graphene oxide (GO), which turns into GMO when heated in vacuum. The scientists said that heat causes carbon and oxygen atoms in GO to be aligned and transition to an "ordered, semiconducting GMO." Different temperatures resulted in the creation of four new materials during the experiment.
Apparently, the discovery was an "accident," as it was not the expected result when GO was heated.
“We thought the oxygen would go away and leave multilayered graphene, so the observation of something other than that was a surprise,” said Eric Mattson, a doctoral student at UWM.
The scientists also noted that GMO has only been created in a "small lab" environment and they were not sure what problems they may encounter when scaling the production.