A team of researchers from Columbia, Seoul National University and Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science have turned a sheet of graphene into a working filament, with the ability to light up when flooded with electricity.
The team was able to illuminate the graphene by holding a sheet of the supermaterial between two electrodes and passing a current through it.
Shrinking a light source to the nano-scale is difficult, and researcher Wang Fon-Jen told PhysOrg they’d “created what is essentially the world’s thinnest light bulb.”
The incredible thing about graphene is how tough it is, with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures required to emit visible light that comparable materials simply cannot bear.
The researchers have demonstrated the ability to take a strip of graphene smaller than the width of a human hair, hold it on a silicon substrate at 2500 degrees Celsius and create light visible to the naked eye.
As graphene heats up, it conducts heat less effectively, meaning the temperatures don’t reach the ends and edge of the sample, essentially creating the world’s thinnest light bulb as stated above.