graphene is a since its discovery in 2004, as the miracle material of the materials research par excellence. Because although it is very thin and, like graphite, only of carbon atoms, it is much stronger than steel. Electricity and conducts heat, it is ten times better than copper. In addition, it is extremely flexible and also transparent. It can be in a semiconductor, magnets, and now even in a superconductor to transform. Flexible Displays, more sensitive Sensors, better batteries, super-capacitors, and lighter aircraft and automotive parts, as well as more powerful electronic components are expected to result from the two-dimensional Material.

Manfred Lindinger

editor in the Department “nature and science”.

F. A. Z.

And still not a week goes by that does not have a striking feature or a new potential application is reported. Whether medicine, material research, electronics, sensor technology, energy and the environment, technology, and even sports shoes and textiles – an area that could benefit from the properties of the graph, one reads on the website of the European flagship Initiative, the coordinates for the last five years, all research activities on the topic of graphene in Europe and even by 2023 with a billion Euro promotes.

Sometimes the graph as the silicon of the future dubbed. However, the semiconductor could be the wonder material may be fatal. Material researchers from the University of Melbourne have discovered that commercially available graphene is contaminated with considerable amounts of silicon. And this “dirt” explain how Dorna Esrafilzadeh and their colleagues in the “Nature Communications” letter, why many of the measured properties contradicted each other and frequently far behind the theoretically predicted values.

Is graph a bleak niche?

The Trouble is that you cannot detect the impurities with process, as you by default, for a quality check would be used. In addition, the contamination came with the used in the manufacture of solvents in the final product, or is even already in the starting material, the graphite, is in place. Only with elaborate and expensive purification processes of the disturbing could be eliminated semiconductor.

The Australian researchers in the impurities also the actual reason why the graph has not yet always managed to make the leap into the wide application, although all paths seem paved. The news from Melbourne is not likely to catch a few researchers have cold, want to meet in Vienna at the invitation of the European flagship initiators from Brussels and, finally, the fruits of their research labors.

But it should be as fast nothing. So the graph could face the same fate as the football-shaped Fullerenes and the nanotubes previously. Once highly praised, these special carbon modification, only a niche existence. Only graphite pencils, but especially diamond as the hardest and most precious Form of carbon, have survived all the “hype”.