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Science Technology

Graphene Can Be Made With Table Sugar 142

Zothecula writes with this snippet from Gizmag: "There's no doubt that the discovery of graphene is one sweet breakthrough. The remarkable material offers everything from faster, cooler electronics and cheaper lithium-ion batteries to faster DNA sequencing and single-atom transistors. Researchers at Rice University have made graphene even sweeter by developing a way to make pristine sheets of the one-atom-thick form of carbon from plain table sugar and other carbon-based substances. In another plus, the one-step process takes place at temperatures low enough to make the wonder material easy to manufacture."
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Graphene Can Be Made With Table Sugar

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  • by neanderlander ( 637187 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @04:11AM (#34252182)
    On a side note, Andre Geim supposedly designed the first graphene production process like this: his students used scotch-tape to pull thin layers of graphite from a piece of paper with pencil drawings on it.
  • Re:Sweet (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @05:47AM (#34252440)

    "CO2 -> material" is a problem of energy rather than chemistry. The energy generated by making CO2 is less than the energy needed to turn that CO2 into something useful (assuming useful materials have a substantially higher enthalpy of formation and lower entropy than fuels). So you have to have an energy source which is capable of replacing fossil fuels first.

  • Re:Who'll profit? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Musically_ut ( 1054312 ) <musically.utNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @07:15AM (#34252678) Homepage Journal

    Nobody invented graphene. It was discovered, rendering it basically unpatentable, so I'm not sure why not sure what that has to do with small patent holders. However with regards to your second point, inventing a clever way of creating it was worth the Nobel Prize [physicsworld.com].

    I would not say that Grephene was not patentable. The Nobel prize winners were on the verge of doing it, but they did not as they said in their interview [techdirt.com].

    And it seems they did so with good reason.

  • Re:interconnects (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @09:33AM (#34253348) Homepage

    Not yet. First they have to figure out how to either create it on top of silicon dioxide or make it elsewhere and transfer it there. Getting the formation temperature down below the point where doped silicon is damaged is progress, though.

  • by Grond ( 15515 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @10:29AM (#34253914) Homepage

    The PTO is funded by user fees. The problem is that if they take in more fees than they budgeted for, the rest goes to general revenue to be spent on other things. When the economy turns downward, the PTO ends up taking in less in fees than its fixed costs (building maintenance, salaries, etc). The 'budget expansion' you're referring to is a plan to essentially refund some of the almost $1 billion in excess fees that have been taken from the PTO over the years. Part of it would make up for the current budget shortfall and part of it would be used for infrastructure improvements like IT upgrades.

    You can find out all you want to know (and more!) about the PTO budget in its 2011 budget report [uspto.gov]. On page 2 you'll find "USPTO is a fully fee funded agency (with fee collections appropriated by the Congress), and does not rely on regular funding from the General Treasury."

    For those of you wondering how the PTO can have budget problems when the number of patent applications is at or near record highs: the cost of examination is not fully paid for on the front end. Much of the cost is made up on the back end through maintenance fees. The problem right now has more to do with patent holders letting patents go abandoned (and thus not paying maintenance fees) than it does application rates dropping off. This is discussed in page 7 of the budget report I linked.

  • by reverseengineer ( 580922 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @11:39AM (#34254782)
    Fluorene [wikipedia.org] is a hydrocarbon compound named for its fluorescence. Despite what the name suggests, it contains no fluorine [wikipedia.org].

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson