Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed drapes made from the thinnest material known to science: graphene.
These nanodrapes are less than a nanometer thick… and you call your milkshake skinny.
Professor Nikhil Koratkar demonstrated how droplets of water glide across a surface covered with a nanodrape with significantly less friction.
“Graphene nanodrapes are the thinnest, most sheer drapes we can imagine. Other than providing a barrier against water, these drapes are optically transparent and cause minimal changes to the topology of the underlying surface,” said Koratkar, the John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan Professor of Engineering at Rensselaer.
Scientists create these nanodrapes by growing graphene on top of a copper substrate. They coat the graphene with polymer, etching away the copper with weak acids, leaving the graphine film underneath the polymer layer floating on top of the liquid acids. The polymer layer is later washed away with acetone, leaving an impermeable graphene drape that is a single-carbon-atom thick.
Can you imagine holding a sheet that is a single carbon atom thick? Would you even be able to tell that it was between your fingers?
This innovation could potentially benefit lab-on-chip devices, self-cleaning surfaces, and other applications requiring the motion of liquid drops on solid surfaces. Taking those potential uses into account, should I feel terrible for thinking that these nanodrapes would take that plastic-wrapped-toilet-seat prank to a whole different level?!
Just imagine it! Hilarious.
I wonder what they’ll come up with yet? What uses would you have for ultrasheer, ultra thin material like graphene nanodrapes?