A development in the use of graphene, a one-atom thick layer of graphite, is providing eye health researchers with butterflies after University of Michigan have announced they are utilizing it to sense light. The graphene does not require any additional material or equipment to keep it cool and is thin enough to be stacked for cell phone integration or within a contact lens.
An assistant Professor of the research team at Michigan has said that the way they have developed the crystalline allotrope of carbon to detect light sources is a pioneering advancement.
The final developed device is only the size of a small finger nail and is made up of two sheets of graphene that has an insulating barrier between them, with an electrical running through the layer at the bottom. This gives a " night vision" effect from the photo-gating effect on the channel conductance.
Long term this will prove valuable for scientific technologies in general and in particular for use by the military.
In other research programs surrounding the material, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are already studying whether graphene-based steel coatings could become an alternative to chrome and make other potentially toxic chemicals that are increasingly restricted under EU law obsolete.
Graphene' s ability to already protect steel from corrosion has already been proved.
Sounds like real superhero stuff doesn't it? Strength of steel and night vision to boot!