A Rice College laboratory has tailored its laser-induced graphene method to make high-resolution, micron-scale patterns of the conductive materials for client electronics and different functions.
Laser-induced graphene (LIG), launched in 2014 by Rice chemist James Tour, includes burning away the whole lot that is not carbon from polymers or different supplies, leaving the carbon atoms to reconfigure themselves into movies of attribute hexagonal graphene.
The method employs a industrial laser that “writes” graphene patterns into surfaces that up to now have included wooden, paper and even meals.
The brand new iteration writes advantageous patterns of graphene into photoresist polymers, light-sensitive supplies utilized in photolithography and photoengraving.
Baking the movie will increase its carbon content material, and subsequent lasing solidifies the strong graphene sample, after which unlased photoresist is washed away.
Particulars of the PR-LIG course of seem within the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.
“This course of permits the usage of graphene wires and units in a extra typical silicon-like course of know-how,” Tour mentioned. “It ought to enable a transition into mainline electronics platforms.”
The Rice lab produced traces of LIG about 10 microns vast and tons of of nanometers thick, akin to that now achieved by extra cumbersome processes that contain lasers hooked up to scanning electron microscopes, in accordance with the researchers.
Attaining traces of LIG sufficiently small for circuitry prompted the lab to optimize its course of, in accordance with graduate pupil Jacob Beckham, lead creator of the paper.
“The breakthrough was a cautious management of the method parameters,” Beckham mentioned. “Small traces of photoresist take in laser gentle relying on their geometry and thickness, so optimizing the laser energy and different parameters allowed us to get good conversion at very excessive decision.”
As a result of the constructive photoresist is a liquid earlier than being spun onto a substrate for lasing, it is a easy matter to dope the uncooked materials with metals or different components to customise it for functions, Tour mentioned.
Potential functions embrace on-chip microsupercapacitors, purposeful nanocomposites and microfluidic arrays.