Photo1. Relics representing the Stone, the Bronze and the Iron Age from left
source : http://leekcp.new21.org/zb41/data/tjstk/1170843723/08.jpg
What roles has the material played in the development of human civilization It is no exaggeration to say that the new history began with the invention of materials since the human society is divided by the ‘materials’ used in its times such as the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Since then, mankind comes to develop the steam engine by expanding the handling skills on the various metals as well as the iron, which leads to the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Based on this, the industrial structure is changed from agriculture and handicraft industry to manufacturing business creating profits by mass production.
Photo2. A high molecular substance and silicon transistor
source : http://www.ua.all.biz/img/ua/catalog/1795482.jpeg
The high molecular period after the appearance of nylon and plastic in the 1930’s opens a gate to produce not only clothes but also various appliances at a low cost and brings a huge change in our daily lives. And finally, the appearance of the silicon called ‘a material from God’ in the 1940’s initiates the electronic industry including computer and mankind begins the IT era. Silicon has made remarkable development during the last half-century and dominated the 21st century.
However, silicon based semiconductor technology has come to saturation in its degree of integration and processing speed and recent evaluation shows that it has already reached the limit on performance.
Photo3. A photo showing the application of the Graphene technology
source : http://blog.daum.net/kipoworld/1763
Then, what will the new material dominating the world following silicon Scientists all over the world are nominating ‘Graphene’ as the powerful candidate. ‘Graphene’ is an atomic sized material made of carbon atom with honeycomb structure. Graphene is a combined terminology of Graphite and the suffix ‘-ene’ indicating a carbon double bonded molecule. Since the two professors in Manchester University, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov first developed Graphene by attaching and detaching the scotch tapes on the graphite in 2004, all the world is competing in studying Graphene.
The reason scientists are excited about Graphene is its marvelous properties. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, more heat conductive than diamond, very thin with single layer of carbon molecule and very flexible. Furthermore, it can not only transfer the electron 100 times faster than monocrystal silicon currently used in semiconductor but also conduct current 100 times more than copper, so it is drawing attention as the next generation material for transistor and electrode replacing the existing technology.
Photo4. Future applications of Graphene. Youtube (2008)
Graphene is expected to apply to various fields in the future such as flexible displays, high efficiency solar batteries, conductive ink and smart windows, etc. Study on Graphene is just an initial stage and lots of tasks remain for its commercialization. Each country is giving unstinting support on the study and investment to have competitive power in the fierce competition longing for the renovation of the new material. In Korea, vigorous studies are in progress by various research teams including professor Byeonghee Hong, a worldwide authority in Graphene field from Chemistry Department in Seoul National University and Graphene Square and Samsung are leading the technical development for the Graphene commercialization also in corporate level. We are expecting new era that Graphene will change our lives sooner or later with the help of all these efforts.
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