Microbes fished from the local river could be used to make low-cost and environmentally friendly graphene in an efficient way according to Japanese scientists.
A simple method for the mass production of high quality graphene could help speed up our approach to a future generation of microelectronics devices based on this material. Graphene looks set to complement silicon semiconductors initially and perhaps displace the standard model in years to come.
You can picture the carbon allotrope graphene as monolayer of the more familiar graphite of pencil “lead” and charcoal. Structurally, it resembles hexagonal chickenwire fencing with an arrangement of carbon atoms at the vertices of the "chickenwire hexagons". It is tough, incredibly strong, thin, and has a wide range of unique optical and electronic properties that have become the focus of intense interest since the Nobel-winning work of Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester used sticky tape to tear off a strip.
The Japanese team are reveal little of the biology of their work but you can get a snapshot of their chemistry and microscopy of graphene flakes in my latest update on SpectroscopyNOW.