Product Design and Manufacturing Process
To replace transparent electrodes made using ITO, the new materials, the processing of those materials, and the manufacturing of the final product must be cheaper and less energy intensive. Our proposed method of making conductive graphene films appears to achieve both of these objectives. The idea is to take a substrate (glass) and spin coat it with a thin film of graphene solution. The treated substrate is then heated in an oven then microwaved in order to remove the solvent and reduce any oxygen groups on the graphene.
The graphene solution would be made using electrochemical exfoliation. In this process, a piece of high purity rock graphite and a metal electrode (stainless steel preferably for anti corrosion and continual use) are put into an electrolyte bath (.5 M sodium sulfate). A current is run through the set up with the metal being the anode and the graphite being the cathode. The sulfate ions intercalate the graphite structure and ultimately explode pieces of graphene off the bulk material. The graphene nano-flakes will float on top of the liquid where they can be removed, washed, agitated to release them from each other, then dispersed into a solvent.
Company Email Contact
Talga Resources is a company that runs mining operations for graphite, iron, and gold, and they are working on graphene based products and applications. One of their focuses is electrochemical synthesis of graphene. We decided to reach out to them and get their opinion on our ideas.
Copy of the sent email:
Dear Talga Resources,
I am representing Wheeler High School's nanotechnology club. We are entering the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) in which students are supposed to design a product for a certain area in technology. One of the requirements is to contact a manufacturer that might be able to make said product and ask them for their opinion. Our product is a thin film transparent and conductive electrode made using graphene. Its uses could be in solar cells and digital screens. We have proposed both a synthesis method for the product and for the graphene (both are in a pdf attached in this email). We would really like to get your feedback on our ideas. Thank you for your time and participation.