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Atomic Motion Of Graphene Generates Limitless Power, Study Finds

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KEY POINTS

  • Study shows graphene moves in a back and forth manner similar to how electrons behave in a circuit
  • Physicists invent a circuit that can convert energy from graphene into an electrical current
  • The study result has became significant in today’s search for a clean energy source

The world may soon have a clean and limitless energy source powered by a circuit that harvests electricity from the atomic motion of graphene. The technology comes in the form of small chips that have the potential of replacing disposable energy sources and saving people from the lifetime purchase of small batteries. 

A team of physicists from the University of Arkansas presented their invention of a circuit that can capture the thermal motion of graphene and convert it into an electrical current. The study, published in the journal Physical Review E, explored a finding three years ago that first identified graphene as a strong candidate for harvesting energy.     

For the present study, the team found that graphene moves in a back and forth manner similar to how electrons behave in a circuit. The manner in which the graphene moves is more apparent at room temperature, the team said in the study. In fact, graphene’s thermal motion showed signs that it can induce an alternating current (AC) seen in electric circuits. 

graphene 2 Scientists have found a cheap and quick way to manufacture graphene. In this photo, senior technologist Dariusz Czolak
holds a piece of silicon carbide disk covered with a layer of graphene, obtained in the process of epitaxy, in the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology (ITME) laboratory in Warsaw on Oct 23, 2012.
Photo: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

“An energy-harvesting circuit based on graphene could be incorporated into a chip to provide clean, limitless, low-voltage power for small devices or sensors,” lead researcher Paul Thibado