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27 October 2020

Alice Brun

Graphene: the thinnest and strongest material ever created!

Graphene is a single-atomic-layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.  The unprecedented features of graphene make it the thinnest and strongest material ever created. Graphene is the basic structural element of carbon allotropes such as graphite, charcoal, and diamonds. For example graphite is made of several layers of graphene.

The unique potential of graphene, offering the theoretical strength of diamond together with the flexibility of plastic, finds application in a wide range of industries: electronics, energy storage, composite materials and drug delivery.

Graphene quality varies considerably depending on how the material is produced, so characterizing raw material and finished products is of fundamental importance. Manufacturers looking to scale-up and functionalize graphene production need rapid and reliable feedback on structure and quality to assure product quality. In AlfatestLab we provide various analytical techniques that have been proven to be useful in characterizing graphene and graphene-based materials.

  • Thanks to Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with elemental analysis EDX we provide high resolution images that allow us to detect the planar structure of graphene and verify exfoliation process, while chemical analysis provides a precise characterization of the material composition.
  • BET Surface area of graphene based catalysts is a crucial data to understand and optimize catalysis performances, and is fundamental to understand the properties of graphene-related materials in general. The BET adsorption-desorption isotherms in nitrogen (77 K) provide reliable data about surface area and helpful information to determine the number of layers. According to the theory, the maximum surface area of a graphene layer is 2630 m2 per gram of material! Because of agglomeration and random layering, in the practice, the surface area results lower.
  • Graphene is prepared by exfoliating graphite. Exfoliation methods in liquid phase are very effective: graphite gets dispersed in an appropriate dispersant and exfoliated applying very high shear forces. In Alfatestlab we can process graphene based formulations using the Microfluidizer technology that has been proven to be very successful[1] to exfoliate graphite formulations.


Contact us to discuss your analytical and process needs; visit our website to discover a unique set of analytical techniques for control of size and morphology, thermal properties surface area and much more. 

[1] Panagiotis G. Karagiannidis, et. al. “Microfluidization of Graphite and Formulation of Graphene-Based Conductive Inks” ACS Nano. January 19, 2017.

Contact us to discuss your analytical needs!