Graphene is a phenomenal material that can filter water, dye hair, and consolidating substances. Now, researchers have discovered a way to manufacture it a lot cheaper: it involves bacteria!
When combined with oxidized graphite, the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis eliminates the majority of the oxygen groups and leaves conductive graphene behind. This method is a cheaper, faster, and more environmentally friendly way than all the current techniques used to create this material.
Biologist Anne Meyer from the University of Rochester in New York says that for real applications of the material, one needs vast amounts of graphene. Producing these quantities is difficult and usually results in graphene that is denser and not so pure. But this is where Meyer and her colleagues’ work came in.
Using the new technique, Meyer was able to produce graphene that is thinner, more steady and which lasts longer than the material made by chemically manufacturing. This makes it possible for bacteria-produced graphene. The material could be used in field-effect transistor (FET) biosensors, which are devices that identify specific biological molecules.
The bacteria production process leaves behind specific oxygen groups, and this makes the graphene that results well-suited to being capable of attaching to particular molecules. This is exactly what a FET biosensor has to do.
This type of graphene material could be used as a conductive ink on circuit boards, computer keyboards, and so on. If required, the bacteria process can be adjusted to generate graphene that is only conductive on one side.
This is the first research to look into the bacteria concept, and a lot more analysis will need to be done before it can be implemented and used to design the next generation of computers. Without further add, the future of this fantastic material continues to look promising.
The study has been published in the journal ChemistryOpen.