Could Graphene Paint Power Your House in the Future?

Graphene Paint
(Photo : Photo Courtesy of University of Manchester)

Could paint one-day power your house?

If current research pans out, then maybe so. (Talk about cutting down the electric bill!)

University of Manchester researchers have used wafers of graphene, with thin layers of other materials to produce solar powered surfaces.

Graphene was first discovered in 2004 and is composed a pure carbon, with its atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern. Andrew Geim and Professor Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating its amazing properties such as being harder than diamond. Graphene is also transparent and can conduct electricity at one atom of thickness.

The material that the scientists at the University of Manchester created, which is paper thin and flexible, were able to absorb sunlight and produce electricity at the same rates of existing solar panels. This new substance could potentially be used to coat the outside of buildings to generate power needed to run appliances inside. It could also be possible to make the substance perform other functions, such as changing color.  

The scientists aren't content to stick to construction applications however. They say that this graphene base substance has the potential to allow for the creation of a new generation of super-thin hand-held devices, such as mobile phones that can be powered by sunlight.

Professor Kostya Novoselov, one of the Nobel Laureates, reportedly said: "What we have been doing is putting different layers of these materials one on top of the other and what you get is a new type of material with a unique set of properties. It is like a book - one page contains some information but together the book is so much more."

Their findings are published in the journal Science.



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