Graphene is an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, hexagonal lattice in which one atom forms each vertex. It is the basic structural element of other allotropes, including graphite, charcoal, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. It can be considered as an indefinitely large aromatic molecule, the ultimate case of the family of flat polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.Graphene and its band structure and Dirac cones, effect of a grid on doping
Graphene has many unusual properties. It is about 200 times stronger than the strongest steel. It efficiently conducts heat and electricity and is nearly transparent. Graphene shows a large and nonlinear diamagnetism, greater than graphite and can be levitated by neodymium magnets.
Scientists have theorized about graphene for years. It has unintentionally been produced in small quantities for centuries, through the use of pencils and other similar graphite applications. It was originally observed in electron microscopes in 1962, but it was studied only while supported on metal surfaces. The material was later rediscovered, isolated, and characterized in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester. Research was informed by existing theoretical descriptions of its composition, structure, and properties. This work resulted in the two winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."
Graphene is a transparent and flexible conductor that holds promise for various material/device applications, including solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LED), touch panels and smart windows or phones. For example, Graphene-based touch panel modules produced by a China-based company (2D Carbon Graphene Material Co., Ltd) have been sold in volume to cell phone, wearable device and home appliance manufacturers.
The toxicity of graphene has been extensively debated in the literature. The most comprehensive review on graphene toxicity summarized the in vitro, in vivo, antimicrobial and environmental effects and highlights the various mechanisms of graphene toxicity. The toxicity of graphene is dependent on factors such as shape, size, purity, post-production processing steps, oxidative state, functional groups, dispersion state, synthesis methods, route, dose of administration and exposure times.
Graphene nanoribbons, graphene nanoplatelets and graphene nano–onions are non-toxic at concentrations up to 50 µg/ml. These nanoparticles do not alter the differentiation of human bone marrow stem cells towards osteoblasts (bone) or adipocytes (fat) suggesting that at low doses graphene nanoparticles are safe for biomedical applications. 10 µm few-layered graphene flakes were able to pierce cell membranes in solution. They were observed to enter initially via sharp and jagged points, allowing graphene to enter the cell. The physiological effects of this remain uncertain, and this remains a relatively unexplored field.