Scientists have discovered that the ‘miracle material’, graphene, undergoes a self repairing process to mend holes.
The researchers were using a powerful electron microscope at the SuperSTEM Laboratory at Daresbury, which allows scientists to study the properties of materials one atom at a time. They recently demonstrated that metals can initiate the formation of holes in the graphene sheet, which could be hugely detrimental to the properties of any graphene-based device.
Surprise results then showed that some of the holes that had been created during this process were actually mending themselves spontaneously using nearby loose carbon atoms to re-knit the graphene structure.
Dr Quentin Ramasse, Scientific Director at SuperSTEM said: "This was a very exciting and unexpected result. The fact that graphene can heal itself under the right conditions may be the difference between a working device and a proof of concept without any real application. We may now have a way of not only drilling through graphene in a controlled fashion to sculpt it at the atomic level, but also to grow it back in new shapes. This adds a lot of flexibility to our nanotechnology toolbox and could pave the way to future technological applications".
This story is reprinted from material from STFC, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.