High-throughput exfoliation gets graphene fabrication rolling

A new technique transform the traditional ‘sticky-tape’ method into something scalable and efficient

A new technology rapidly rolls adhesive tape to get graphene flakes cheaply and efficiently. Unlike the memorable manual method of mechanical exfoliation – rewarded with the Nobel prize in physics in 2010 – this roll-to-roll system could be easily integrated into industrial assembly lines, accelerating the development of graphene transistors and photodetectors.

‘We’ve developed a low-cost method [to] fabricate nanosheets with excellent electrical and optical properties,’ says Andrés Castellanos Gómez from the Institute of Materials Science of Madrid, Spain, lead author of the paper. On top of higher speeds and efficiency, the method offers opportunities for automation, which could catalyse commercial uptake. It also works with graphite, as well as other layered crystals, including boron nitride, molybdenum disulfide and black phosphorus. ‘We also present a simple method to transfer the nanosheets,’ says Castellanos. This transfer technique avoids traditional high-temperature treatments, which damage the materials.