An international research team has developed a new technique to embed transparent, flexible graphene electrodes into fibers commonly associated with the textile industry, such as polypropylene.
The team includes experts from the Centre for Graphene Science at the University of Exeter in England; the Institute for Systems Engineering and Computers, Microsystems and Nanotechnology (INESC-MN) in Lisbon; the Universities of Lisbon and Aveiro in Portugal; and the Belgian Textile Research Centre (CenTexBel).
Published in the scientific journal Scientific Report, the discovery could alter the creation of wearable electronic devices, such as clothing containing computers, phones and MP3 players, which are lightweight, durable and easily transportable. Strong, flexible and just one atom thick, graphene is the thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity.
In this work, graphene was created by a growth method called chemical vapour deposition (CVD) onto copper foil, using a nanoCVD system recently developed by Moorfield Associates of Cheshire, England. The team established a technique to transfer graphene from the copper foils to a polypropylene fiber.
Dr Helena Alves, who led the research team from INESC-MN and the University of Aveiro said, “The concept of wearable technology is emerging, but so far having fully textile-embedded transparent and flexible technology is currently non-existing. Therefore, the development of processes and engineering for the integration of graphene in textiles would give rise to a new universe of commercial applications.”
The research was supported by the U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and by the Royal Society.
Source: University of Exeter