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back to article Too late, Blighty! Samsung boffins claim breakthrough graphene manufacturing success

A group of 14 Korean researchers, including 10 from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, have published details of a technique for synthesising graphene that could lead to sheets of the thin, strong, conductive wonder-material-du-jour being used in commercial devices sooner rather than later. Their paper, published …

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Too Late

Apple have a patent on hexagonal corners

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Flame

Re: Too Late

Nah, apple are patenting the invisible graphene neck tie, AKA the garotte for application to any and all competitors. All they need now is someone to design the self tightening mechanism so that they can patent that as well.

They are probably trying to patent see through graphene knickers just to stop them being sold.

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Unhappy

Re: Too Late

Too specific, you clearly don't have a clue about US patents..

Needs to be more like.

A manufacturing process to allow the production of graphine or derivatives of graphene or products similar to graphine, to be used in electrical, electronic or other mechanical or electomechanical device but not limited exclusively to said products. The process may, or may not involve the following steps or a deviation of said steps in order to produce the material.

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Boffin

Boffins

"wafer-scale growth of wrinkle-free single-crystal monolayer graphene on silicon wafer using a hydrogen-terminated germanium buffer layer."

When put like that, it's a bit obvious innit?

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Re: Boffins

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If boffins were clever they would see a link between wonder materials (graphene, nanotubes) and excess carbon and sort out the two birds, one stone thing. Seriously, how hard can it be to suck carbon from the atmosphere and make a nanotube or two (billion)?

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Re: Boffins

Yeah, Lusty... Except that there is, you know, no actual carbon in the atmosphere. Some CO2 , a whiff of CH4, and traces of more complex compounds containing carbon, but carbon as such? no, not really. None of that stuff is suited to create graphene in any way that may one day be commercially feasible, even with "unlimited energy".

So no stone to kill two birds.

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Re: Boffins

So in what form/from what raw source is the carbon obtained? Genuine enquiry (from one too lazy to do his own research).

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How hard it is to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

The formula you need is E=kTN ln(C/c) / m

E: minimum energy required per gramme of CO2.

k: Boltzmann constant (1.38x10^-23 Joules/Kelvin).

T: Temperature in Kelvin (0 Centigrade is 273K).

N: Avogodro's constant (6.022x10^23 molecules / mol)

ln: natural logarithm

C: Output concentration - say 100%

c: Input concentration - say 0.3%

m: Molecular mass of CO2 (44g/mol)

That works out at about 420J/g, or £17.50 per tonne of CO2 at the UK price of £0.15/kWh. The bad news is that is the minimum cost permitted by the laws of physics. In real life, the process will not be 100% efficient, so you should multiply that cost by about 3 to reach a sensible guess at a practical figure.

The really bad news is you have to pull the oxygen atoms of the CO2 to get carbon - the reverse process of burning coal. That costs 24000J per gramme of carbon (100% efficient process). As you need 3.67g of CO2 to get 1g of carbon, the theoretical minimum cost of getting carbon out of the atmosphere is about £1/kg. A practical figure would be much higher. On the other hand, you can get coal from a mine for £0.35/kg retail.

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Re: How hard it is to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

Interesting discussion. Perhaps you can enlighten us with a related discussion. Compare what you've just described to photosynthesis: the energies, inputs, outputs, and efficiencies in comparison to the raw C from CO2 discussion you've just given.

Another possible discussion would be attempting to do what you described using non-grid sources like photovoltaic cells. Instead of money, perhaps time would be a good measurement to see just what it would take to crack CO2.

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Photosynthesis, solar, ...

Power is power wherever it comes from. The same laws of physics always apply. The thing that matters is the cost - which is not always easy to convert into money. Gas is cheapest right now because new supplies have been found (and sometimes taxed out of existence). France has far cheaper electricity bills than the UK because they are 80% nuclear, and we are 10% wind (in the record breaking month). Photovoltaic is profitable when large populations live near a desert. Perhaps the price of the panels will fall enough to make them profitable in the UK one day. You still need a huge area to generate a significant amount of power (10-20W/square meter).

Photosynthesis is solar power. Plants are one or two percent efficient at converting sunlight, CO2 and water into sugar and oxygen. Make sure you include all the costs - transport and distribution of fertiliser to maintain soil quality. Irrigation. Transport and conversion of plants into biofuel. Starving hordes setting fire to your local MP because using all the farmland to make biofuel has sent food prices rocketing. There are theories about dumping minerals into barren oceans so phytoplankton can grow. The good news is that it does not use up all the farmland and might create a fishing industry. As far as I know, there have been no large scale tests (because they would be illegal).

All the information you need to understand the scale of sustainable energy can be found at: http://www.withouthotair.com/

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Re: Photosynthesis, solar, ...

Believe me when I say I was not attempting to push a green agenda. I was simply seeking some kind of comparison between them (and I did have low expectations for both photosynthesis and photovoltaic--I was more interested in the scale of the difference).

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Re: Boffins

"no actual carbon in the atmosphere. Some CO2"

CO2 contains actual carbon believe it or not. Using this for creating wonder materials would leave oxygens. Trees do this, wood being their wonder material...

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Re: Boffins - @Grikath

Plenty of carbon in the atmosphere mate, it's called soot. Bush fires, cooking fires, diesel engines, coal fired industry, etc... Best capture system found so far are lungs, though it's not really reusable!

As an aside - Last time I did some work in a well known brand of soft drink factory (think Bolivian marching powder) in Lagos their CO2 for fizzing the glop was obtained by burning diesel and capturing it from the flue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How hard it is to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

RE :- "the theoretical minimum cost of getting carbon out of the atmosphere is about £1/kg. A practical figure would be much higher. On the other hand, you can get coal from a mine for £0.35/kg retail."

so - basically, extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and then burning it would be approx. 3x more expensive than burning coal?

would still be loads cheaper than windmills / nuclear etc

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Re: How hard it is to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

so - basically, extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and then burning it would be approx. 3x more expensive than burning coal?

would still be loads cheaper than windmills / nuclear etc

I can only assume that this is a joke. If you were to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, remove the oxygen from this (presumably electrolytically?), the theoretical energy used to remove the oxygen would be the same as you would get from burning it. Note theoretical - in practice, nothing is 100% efficient, as noted above plants manage this at 2% efficiency with photosynthesis, which has evolved over billions of years to be pretty much as efficient as it can be, so you'd be using 20 times as much energy to pull those oxygens off the carbon as you'd ever be able to get back. Then when you burnt it again, you would only get 33% efficiency in a modern coal-fired power station, so you'd actually be putting in 60 times as much energy as you could get back, assuming you could manage a conversion process as efficient as photosynthesis.

Even if CO2 is a feedstock chemical for the process in question, sucking it from the atmosphere is almost certainly much less cost efficient and practical than simply burning any hydrocarbon fuel and collecting the CO2 from that.

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Re: How hard it is to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

If those costs were to stack up, then presumably this is actually a good deal. Im pretty sure we all pay more than £0.65 per the amount of carbon kg's we would need every day on green taxes. If we instead shifted the tax to carbon manufacturing then we could clean up the air and get rid of the green tax on everything else we buy. Of course, seeing as no one is doing this, i presume even these figures are incorrect.

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Re: Boffins

Ground diamonds. That's why it's so expensive.

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I've heard it all before, 'breakthrough' 'revolutionise' 'wonder product' etc etc

Then in the next breath they will state 'we can see this reaching the market in say 2055, it will be amazing'.

Don't hold your breath.

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Where will our cats relax on summer days until then?

This is simply unacceptable.

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Surely the question is...

...the potential new ElReg unit "micromechanical cleavage".

And point-load in the hammock may affect the ability to provide adequate support - what is the density of the cat, in Jubs per Bulgarian Airbag...?

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I wouldn't bother. IME a cat's interest in a gift is inversely proportional to how much you spent on it, and I can't see these suckers being cheap.

It'll probably love the box, though.

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Simply buy it for yourself. Then the cat will use it.

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RE: Where will our cats relax on summer days until then?

Every bloody where they like, like they do now.

My workstation is cat hair infested.

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Re: Surely the question is...

If they were precise enough they wouldn't know whether the hammock had snapped until they looked at the cat. Schrödinger's Cat's hammock.

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Re: RE: Where will our cats relax on summer days until then?

Yeah but the hours of fun anticipating a cat missing it's jump on to the hammock and slicing off a limb or two on the edge of the hammock..

(See Arthur C Clarke Fountains of Paradise and his hyperfilaments..)

Discalimer I have a cat i do not promote comedy amputations.

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I've had an idea

" ... both Samsung and Nokia have filed patents for using graphene in mobile devices, and that Apple, Saab, and Lockheed Martin have also filed for or received patents on graphene use."

I'll file patents for use of graphene in spaaaace! Then sue anyone who copies my brilliant IP.

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Re: I've had an idea

Yep, this is the kind of thing that has everyone pull their hair out. Come up with a new material 'X' that has similar uses material 'U' & 'V' only stronger, faster, lighter, betterer and everyone and their cousin is coming up with crap like 'X' in a computer, 'X' in a phone, 'X' in a mobile device, 'X' enclosure for a pile of camel dung, etc. Can we at least state the obvious things like using new material 'X' as a replacement for materials 'U' & 'V' are in fact obvious and not patentable?

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Re: I've had an idea

'ave an up vote for 'a pile of camel dung'. Most revolutionary application all day

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Re: I've had an idea

Well look into space elevators and the materials that would be needed for one of those - graphene (or something similar) is the main step along that way.

As for patenting it there have been way too many prior publications - try Fountains of Paradise, Pillar to the Sky or any of the many othes.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=book%20about%20space%20elevators&kl=us-en

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The real difference

Samsung has a real R&D dept. researching real, proper, properly patentable stuff, whilst Apple patents software abstracts and appearance.

I know who I'd like to see win.

I'm not going to mention rectangle/rounded/corner because, frankly, that's such a tired meme & anyone posting a reference to it now, or in the future, should just be null routed. Oh ! Some twat already has. Oh what a clever fucker they must be......

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Re: The real difference

Samsung has a real R&D dept. researching real, proper, properly patentable stuff

So did Nokia.... just sayin.

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Re: The real difference

and so does MS. Nokia spent a huge amount of money on research. It isn't always obviously useful, aside from a 41MP camera and some other nice things.

MS's research entity often publishes information that allows others to proceed in that direction.

One of the reasons I have always disliked Apple is the paucity of original research they do, polishing someone else's ideas and making money. Nice for them and their shareholders, fine for the folks buying their shiny stuff.

But, none of this could happen if the original work, in this case, the discovery/invention of Graphene itself (in the UK, impressive stuff) and the extra effort of folks like those at Nokia/MS/Samsung no doubt. Added to that, the ARM-based kit (also UK), Gorilla Glass (thanks Pilkington).

I mean, seriously, what technology have Apple researched/invented that is inside any of their devices - I recall that the fingerprint scanner was gained by purchase from elsewhere?

The end result of everyone doing what Apple do is that little or no progress would occur, just incremental development. Hmm, I knew there was reason all their recent devices were the same.

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Re: The real difference

"I'm not going to mention rectangle/rounded/corner because, frankly, that's such a tired meme & anyone posting a reference to it now, or in the future, should just be null routed."

I'm not going to point out you just contradicted your own statement, but... well crap.

On the upside Samsung can offer to license the product to Apple for a billion dollars.

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@neilg

This isn't their smartphone division doing this research, you know. They are a large conglomerate composed of a lot of independently operating companies, and this patent doesn't make their smartphone division superior to Apple any more than if their shipbuilding division comes up with a patent on a novel way to make the hull of an oil tanker more resistant to iceberg impacts.

It is good that companies like Samsung and IBM still do basic research, because too many companies have got out of it. But not everyone needs to do it - only those who operate across a wide enough range of businesses that they can actually use those results somewhere in the company (in the semiconductor division in this case, most likely)

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Re: The real difference

And Apple stole the mouse, bit-mapped display, icons, etc. from Xerox. And the whole world profited. Much as I wish Xerox had understood what it had and used it, I am glad someone (in this case, Apple) actualised it.

Rant to your heart's content, the world would be a poorer place without Apple. I have my Nomex suit on, flame away.

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Re: The real difference

You're absolutly correct, Apple basically copied Xerox's STAR computer and made it into the LISA and MAC. But, I don't believe for a minute that the world would be a poorer place without Apple.

What Apple is really good at is re-packaging other people's ideas to make them look shiny and new.

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Re: The real difference

Says someone who apparently never actually used a STAR workstation. Nor an Alto running Smalltalk. Us old farts know better.

There's a good reason STAR never caught on, and it wasn't just the price.

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Re: The real difference

I was always under the impression MS research entity was there to employ good people so they didn’t work for the opposition. The people they have swallowed could all come up with something better than the organisation seems to as a hole.

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Re: The real difference

Sorry to burst a small part of your bubble but Gorilla Glass is made by Cornings a large merkin firm, Pilkington specialise more in architectural applications for glass.

As for the graphene thing Sammy is much more likely to produce more user friendly ideas with it than Appoo 'cos that's what they do, rather than making fairly narrowly defined products and then suing any and everyone who makes anything even slightly similar.

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Re: The real difference

Given the *many* useful attributes of graphene a lot of companies will be rushing to push in "Patents" before the stuff really becomes readily available. How many of these are Sueball-bait or real innovations remains to be seen, but just between the Sammy/Apple juxtaposition my money would be on Sammy coming up with a *lot* more useful, interesting, and even innovative ( non-replacement) stuff than Apple.

Apple , however, has the home advantage of the USPTO, which lets it produce patents out of wet towels and even fairy snot, so the sheer volume and scope of Apple patents will probably be a source for ...Amusement... and Lawyers' third seaside mansions for decades to come.

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Re: The real difference

What you're seeing are "defensive" patents, taken out on things they're currently inventing to make sure no one beats them to the punch. Defensive patents are prevalent in many industries, particularly pharmaceuticals where companies can't risk BEEELION-dollar-plus investments on new drugs on being stolen by the competition. So they take out patents on new drugs before they're ever made. Because of the time limit on patents, this puts the drug companies on the clock. To maximize their profit potential, they need to get the drug to market ASAP. However, they have to get past the testing the regulatory stages first. On average, by the time a drug actually gets to market, the patent clock only has a few years remaining on it.

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Re: The real difference

Dear old fart ... you missed the point. No, I never worked on the STAR, but saw a demo about year before Apple came out with the LISA (I did use a LISA). It was the concept that Apple stole, not the computer. Just as XEROX didn't invent the three-button mouse, it did invent the mouse.

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Re: The real difference

Actualised?

ACTUALISED!?!

The flames of hell are not hot enough for the likes of you Sonny Jim.

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Re: The real difference

"So they take out patents on new drugs before they're ever made. "

It might happen but it's not legal

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Re: The real difference

I'm not sure the Apple heads, who are worth hundreds of millions each, will be vastly upset at losing out on this invention. I think they'll still sleep ok at night. :/

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Re: The real difference

Huh?

Anyone can patent an original invention, without having to make it. You don't even have to make a prototype. You can get away with just a good written description (drawings help).

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Re: The real difference @lambda_delta

No, Xerox didn't invent the mouse either. It was invented way back in 1964. They refined it in 1972 and Apple developed a version of that which could be mass produced for low cost, so in both cases it was the evolution of an existing product.

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This will not be good

It's also close to transparent, absorbing only 2.3 per cent of light shone upon it, irrespective of wavelength.

Then the MIT and CalTech types will think it's a great idea to stretch a sheet of this "invisible shield" across a bike path at a shady spot. Fun.

Of course soon the researchers will figure out how to wrap small sheets a few atoms wide around into tiny continuous graphene tubes that'll be usable as a single fiber, perhaps considering weaving an impenetrable graphene fabric.

But the military will soon find out those invisible fibers work well against the meatsacks, from a single line strung up at neck height, to a cloud of short pieces dispersed by a mortar shell. I wonder what those short fragments with the impossibly sharp pinpoint ends will do when inhaled, after they slip straight through any respirator mask in existence. And what if you got one in your eye?

If they "graph-bombed" an area, how long until all the fibers get broken down to where it's safe for any breathing animals to enter?

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Re: This will not be good

On the bright side, a similar cloud would probably be equally fatal for all the drones and robot soldiers they are building, which makes it less immoral than biological.

And historically, the evidence is actually in favour of developing such weapons. As a species, we've used all-out chemical weapons once (WW1) and thereafter only in pretty desparate conflicts where one side thought they wouldn't be noticed. Bio-weapons were certainly developed during WW2 but none of the sides were actually willing to use them for fear of retaliation. Atomic weapons were used once, when the US was certain that no-one else had them. As soon as that certainty was overturned, the willingness to use them (eg, in Korea) disappeared.

Slowly, the politicians and generals are learning. Our technical prowess makes all-out war indistinguishable from suicide. Therefore, all future wars will be fought with both sides pulling their punches and if one side looks like losing everything, it will stop pulling its punches and the "winners" will wish they hadn't.

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