Graphene could help reduce the energy cost of producing heavy water and decontamination in nuclear power plants by over one hundred times compared with current technologies, University of Manchester research indicates.
Graphene detects. Ultra-sensitive sensors made from graphene could detect minute dangerous particles helping to protect potentially dangerous environments.
Graphene is an ideal material for sensors. Every atom in graphene is exposed to its environment allowing it to sense changes in its surroundings. For chemical sensors the goal is to be able to detect just one molecule of a potentially dangerous substance. Graphene now allows for the creation of micrometre-size sensors capable of detecting individual events on a molecular level.
Reducing food waste
Graphene oxide can be used to create 'smart' food packaging products. This could dramatically cut down on unnecessary food wastage and simultaneously help prevent illnesses. Packaging which has been coated with graphene has the ability to detect atmospheric changes caused by decaying food.
Graphene sensors could boost the effectiveness of monitoring vital crops in the agriculture industry. Farmers would be able to monitor the existence of any harmful gasses which could impact upon crop fields and take relevant action. As graphene sensors are so sensitive it is feasible to be able to determine the ideal areas for growing certain crops depending on atmospheric conditions.
The extreme sensitivity of graphene-based sensors could also be tuned to chemical warfare agents and explosives. This could allow for early warning detection systems for soldiers in the field potentially saving lives.