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Graphene on Toast Paves Way for Edible Electronics

first_img Silkworms Engineered to Produce Spider SilkNanotube “Rebar” Makes Graphene Even Stronger Stay on target Graphene: It’s what’s for dinner.Scientists at Rice University are testing new ways to embed graphene patterns onto food, fabric, wood, and other objects.Famed for its toughness and conductivity, the basic structural element has been touted as a “miracle material,” ideal for use in fast-charging batteries and edible electronics.AdChoices广告It’s the latter that most interests Rice chemist James Tour, who is leading an investigation into ways to embed conductive identification tags and sensors directly into products.Rice University chemist James Tour shows a potato enhanced with a conductive pattern of laser-induced graphene (via Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)The process is an extension of the Tour lab’s ongoing experimentation with laser-induced graphene (LIG).Most recently, researchers developed a method for making graphene foam—a two-dimensional form of carbon—that can be written into materials and used in various applications (like heat-activated clothing or RFID food tags).“This is not ink,” Tour said in a statement. “This is taking the material itself and converting it into graphene.”Multiple laser passes with a defocused beam allow scientists to write LIG patterns (in this case, the Rice “R” and own logos) into cloth, paper, potatoes, coconut shells, cork, and toast.“Very often, we don’t see the advantage of something until we make it available,” Tour said. “Perhaps all food will have a tiny RFID tag that gives you information about where it’s been, how long it’s been stored, its country and city of origin, and the path it took to get to your table.”LIG tags could also help detect E. coli or other harmful microorganisms.“They could light up and give you a signal that you don’t want to eat this,” Tour suggested. “All that could be placed not on a separate tag … but on the food itself.”Rice scientists used a laser to burn graphene in the form of a Rice Owl into a piece of cloth (via Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Read more about the procedure and its potential functions in a paper published last week in the journal ACS Nano.Tour co-authored the study with Rice graduate students Yieu Chyan and Yilun Li, alumnus Ruquan Ye, and postdoctoral fellow Swatantra Pratap Singh and Christopher Arnus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.last_img read more