Transparent Loudspeakers Made From Graphene Using Inkjet Printing Technology
By on July 12th, 2011

Researchers at Seoul University have come up with the utmost innovation in sound technology transparent loud speakers, made using Graphene. The team used a special kind of plastic material called Poly Vinylidene Flouride (PVDF), on which a layer of Graphene Oxide was printed’ in order to achieve this.

Arrangement of Graphitic layers. Graphene is simply one graphite layer.

Graphene is a single layer of carbon (picture above), manufactured by industrial methods like Carbon Vapour Deposition or by simply stripping away at Graphite using Scotch Tape. It is the material, hot and happening, in today’s material science research.

The Ink

Graphene Oxide was used as the ink. Prepared using known and tested methods, the synthesized Graphene oxide was filled in an empty inkjet printer cartridge. This would be the ink’ for printing on the PVDF.

The PVDF

The PVDF was treated using low oxygen plasma treatment, so that the surface is amiable for printing’.

The technology used for printing was the regular inkjet printer technology. The moment two layers of Graphene oxide were printed’ uniformly on the two sides of the PVDF, the entire material behaved like an electrolyte and the Graphene layer acted as the electrodes. Dipping the printed sheet of PVDF into hydrazine and ammonia solution completed the printing process.

A sheet of graphene

The rest of the process is straight forward. Regular digital pulses of electricity excite the PVDF sheet and due to the piezoelectric effect (or its inverse, if you prefer), the PVDF sheet bends in specific ways so as to produce sound waves.

Where might this be useful?

The applications are immense. Soon, one might have screens with a thin PVDF-Graphene layer, doubling up as the primary speakers on his/her laptop. Giant screens would be their own audio sources. Even the car windshields or windows might double as the entertainment devices. There is also the huge possibility of inducing anti-noise vibrations, making these PVDF speakers perfect for noise reduction.

The good news is that these are extremely inexpensive and quite durable. The bad news is that the sound quality needs a lot to be desired, especially at low scales.

Wonder material Graphene does it again, but there are still chinks to iron out. Graphene is hot, really hot. Is that loud and clear?

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Author: Debjyoti Bardhan Google Profile for Debjyoti Bardhan
Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.

Debjyoti Bardhan has written and can be contacted at debjyoti@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://www.wlug.net Binoy

    Graphene sure is a wonder material as you put it . Its uses are immense. Do you know The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2010 was awarded to 2 gentlemen for their experiments on Graphene ?

 
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