A new way to produce low-cost carbon-based transparent and flexible electronics may have been discovered by scientists at Northwestern University.
Researchers at the university used a camera flash to instantly heat up graphite oxide, turning it into conductive graphene.
Previously the reduction process for graphite oxide has relied on toxic chemicals or high-temperature treatment but the new process developed by assistant professor Jiaxing Huang and his team uses nothing more than an ordinary camera flash.
"The light pulse offers very efficient heating through the photothermal process, which is rapid, energy-efficient and chemical-free," commented Professor Huang.
He added: "If we can make a nano circuit on a single piece of graphite oxide, it will hold great promise for patterning electronic devices."
Since graphene was discovered in 2004, scientists have been fascinated by the carbon-based electrical conductor which could be put to a variety of applications in electronics, including the replacement of silicon computer chips.