This Christmas tree brings a whole new meaning to 2D Christmas.
Peter Bøggild and colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark cut a 14 cm-long Christmas tree from a single layer of graphene, which is one atom thick (and just one-third of a nanometer thick). The graphene Christmas tree was then transferred in one piece using a rebuilt laminating machine and then examined with terahertz radiation:
"Even if you could make a pencil drawing of a Christmas tree and lift it off the paper—which, figuratively, is what we have done—it would be much thicker than one atom. A bacterium is, e.g. 3000 times thicker than the graphene layer we used. That's why I dare call this the world's thinnest Christmas tree. And although the starting point is carbon, just like the graphite in a pencil, graphene is at the same time even more conductive than copper. The "drawing" is made in one perfect layer in one piece, " says Professor Peter Bøggild who lead the team behind the Christmas tree experiment.
The display of quality in this production showed how accurate the control of this method was. This is expected to propel the use of technology since graphene is known to be a good conductor of electricity and, given it is a two-dimensional material (it consists of atoms in one cohesive layer that is only one atom thin), it would weigh less and take up less space compared to other electronics we know today.
However, there are major problems before this material can be used in industry-level productions. One of its problems is that it is expensive. This is because, as of now, this material is uncommon and scarce. To solve this, the material should be produced in more quantities and at a faster rate.
But, this would also bring out the second problem as the quality may suffer due to the high risk of error. Everything should be precise. And that is the third problem, how would you measure it precisely? While this method is still in its infant stage, it has definitely taken a significant step forward. It would take a lot more experiments to solve the major problems of this method of production.
Image: Technical University of Denmark