Our world runs on electronic devices today. People can no longer leave their homes without their cell phone, or go longer than an hour without checking their email accounts.
Cell phones and iPads aren’t the only electronic devices people are hooked on, either. There are many different types of electronic tools, yet the world still demands more.
Supply and demand
Not only does the world demand more electronics, but it also expects better ones. The instant one version comes out, developers are busy putting the finishing touches on the next.
Everyone wants the best of everything, and the industry answers consumers’ demands by always looking for ways in which to develop and improve newer electronic devices.
Perhaps that’s why graphene, a material that was intended for use in many electronic devices, may be on its way out in favor of other materials.
Are scientists saying farewell to graphene?
The fact that graphene could be abandoned in favor of other, supposedly “better” materials is surprising, especially since the substance was only discovered in 2010. At the time, its development was so miraculous that the two scientists who discovered it won a Nobel Prize!
Since its discovery, graphene, an excellent heat and electricity conductor, has been marked for use in a wide variety of electronic devices. Plus, research has continued to this day to find more uses for it.
Despite the popularity of graphene, it appears that many scientists are giving up on it as their new “miracle material” and are shifting their sights to other substances, such as thin sheets of molybdenum disulfide.
Some researchers think that other material, which has a similar structure to graphene, may be better for use in electronics because it can work as both a conductor and an insulator. Graphene, on the other hand, is only useful for conducting.
Researchers are theorizing that molybdenum disulfide would not only be easier to use than graphene, but would also allow for design of more energy-efficient electronics.
As if graphene didn’t have enough competition from molybdenum disulfide, other researchers are looking for still other materials that might be suitable for use in the manufacture of electronic devices. To make matters worse, some researchers are even attempting to develop their own graphite substitutes.
The closest that scientists have come to creating a new substitute for graphene is a material called “phosphorene,” made from phosphorus. Like molybdenum disulfide, phosphorene can do double duty as both a conductor and insulator.
Plus, it can be isolated in a lab, unlike molybdenum disulfide, which is only amassed through mining.
What does the future hold?
Just a few short years ago, nearly every scientific researcher or electronics manufacturer was singing the praises of graphene and calling it “the next big thing.” Now, however, it stands a good chance of being outclassed by molybdenum disulfide and/or phosphorene in electronics manufacturing … and that’s only if some newer material isn’t discovered.
The only way to know for certain what will become of graphene — whether or not it will have a major, lasting impact — is to wait and see.