Researchers at the University of Arkansas studying rippling effect of graphene sheets have discovered a physical property which could be manipulated as to generate a virtually limitless source of clean energy.
Physicist Paul Thibado led a team of grad students to understand how graphene, a 2 dimensional single-atom layer thick sheet of pure carbon, was holding together like a 3D material. What they discovered was the sheets of graphene were not perfectly flat at all, but vibrated on a nuclear level in such a way that its own bonds didn’t spontaneously unravel giving the 2D sheet of graphene a handy third dimension.
In order to correctly measure the level of the fluctuation, Dr. Thibado’s researchers placed sheets of graphene across a reassuring copper grid and observed the changes in the atoms’ positions with a scanning tunneling microscope.
They observed patterns of small, random fluctuations combining to form sudden, dramatic shifts known as Lévy flights. While they have been observed in complex systems of climate and science, this was the first time they’d been seen within a nuclear scale.
By measuring the rate and scale of those graphene wave, Thibado contends that it may be possible to put electrodes to both sides of sections of the buckling graphene to produce miniature shifting voltage creating a clean, unlimited power source.
Thibado explains the teams findings and potential applications in the video below.