Graphene-based circuit yields clean, limitless power

Oct. 2 (UPI) — Scientists have developed a new graphene-based circuit capable of producing clean, limitless power. Researchers suggest the energy-harvesting circuit — described Friday in the journal Physical Review E — could be used to power small, low-voltage devices and sensors.

The circuit’s ability confirms the theory — developed by the study’s authors, a group of physicists at the University of Arkansas — that micron-sized sheets of freestanding graphene naturally move in a way conducive to energy harvesting.

The breakthrough also contradicts the assertion by Richard Feynman that so-called Brownian motion, the thermal motion of atoms, cannot perform work. But lab tests showed the Brownian motion of atoms in freestanding sheets of graphene can generate an alternating current.

Famously, physicist Léon Brillouin proved that a single diode, a one-way electrical gate, added to a circuit was not sufficient to turn Brownian motion into energy. The team of physicists at

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A multisensory graphene-based skin can sense in extreme environments where other sensors cannot be used

A fresh sense of possibility
The system has the resilience to withstand very harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures, high salinity, varying pressure, intense radiation, reactive chemicals and/or high humidity. Credit: 2020 KAUST

Harsh environments that are inhospitable to existing technologies could now be monitored using sensors based on graphene. An intriguing form of carbon, graphene comprises layers of interconnected hexagonal rings of carbon atoms, a structure that yields unique electronic and physical properties with possibilities for many applications.


“Graphene has been projected as a miracle material for years now, but its application in harsh environmental conditions was unexplored,” says Sohail Shaikh, who has developed the new sensors, together with KAUST’s Muhammad Hussain.

“Existing sensor technologies operate in a very limited range of environmental conditions, failing or becoming unreliable if there is much deviation,” Shaikh adds.

The new robust sensor relies on changes in the electrical resistance of graphene in response to varying temperature, salinity

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