Graphene has to be one of the most talked about things on this blog. Searching for the word “graphene” shows that I have written 19 posts on the substance, sometimes talking about it directly or sometimes using it in another process. As the year comes to a close we mare as well take that up to 20 posts. This news is also quite general to all graphene no matter its application and so I am glad to end on such a note. This is because all things eventually get old and graphene is not exception. When in the presence of strong acids the graphene is reduced (the opposite of oxidised) by the removal of an electron. Over time this happens naturally and the surface of the graphene can get distorted. Since the mechanical properties are the main attributes of graphene having the structure ruined can degrade these useful properties. But possibly the mos devastation thing is that the ability for the graphene to conduct electricity is also hindered due to the loss of an electron that would have been able to carry charge before.
Luckily a solution has been found (for at least the last problem) that still needs some developing but could very well be an effective method. By targeting selenium (Se) atoms at the specifically distorted points, the conducting properties of the graphene were returned. This is in effect selenium doping but there is a bit of a problem. The defects themselves that are attempting to be fixed are an unfavourable location for selenium to bond. This means that quite a number of selenium atoms have to be introduced in order to get the desired effect which in itself means that the whole system is cruder and lacks precision. Given time this method will be used to return the electrical properties of one of the most important materials and possibly even improved them.