Samsung scientists claim to have made a breakthrough that could see "wonder material" graphene leave the laboratory and head into real-world consumer electronics.
Graphene is seen as a replacement for silicon, offering better conductivity, as well as other benefits such as steel-like strength and paper-like flexibility.
Since being discovered in University of Manchester labs, many potential applications have been mooted but none has made it to market. Now, Samsung claims a new way of making the material could lead to commercial production.
"This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history," said the laboratory leaders at SAIT’s Lab. "We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialisation of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology."
Samsung said it had uncovered for the first time a method of growing large-area, single-crystal wafer scale graphene without losing the main benefits of the material.
"In the past, researchers have found that multi-crystal synthesis – the process of synthesizing small graphene particles to produce large-area graphene – deteriorated the electric and mechanical properties of the material, limiting its application range and making it difficult to commercialise," the development team said, adding that the material could be used in flexible displays or wearable computers.
"The new method synthesises large-area graphene into a single crystal on a semiconductor, maintaining its electric and mechanical properties - it repeatedly synthesises single crystal graphene on the current semiconductor wafer scale."