Graphene transferred from its metal substrate with a polymer coating, left, shows polymer residues (dark spots) remain stuck to the graphene after processing. The rebar graphene, right, created at Rice University is created without the need for a polymer transfer step and stays clean. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)
Nanotube rebars are clearly visible in an electron microscope image of rebar graphene invented at Rice University. The image shows where one nanotube wall stops, as the tube partially unzips into graphene and provides a seamless bond with the sheet. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)
Carbon nanotubes that serve as reinforcing bars in graphene partially unzip in the process created at Rice University. The unzipped part of the tube bonds covalently with the graphene sheet, providing an uninterrupted electrical connection. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)
Nanotubes with added carbon side chains are spin coated onto a substrate and heated to form rebar graphene in a process invented at Rice University. The rebars add strength and electrical connectivity to the transparent, flexible sheet that could replace more expensive materials in displays and solar cells. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)
A square-centimeter sheet of rebar graphene floats in water. The rebars allow the sheet to be transferred from one surface from another without using polymer in an intermediate step. The process was created in the lab of chemist James Tour at Rice University. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)
For more information visit http://www.rice.edu .
The technique should make large, flexible, conductive and transparent sheets of graphene much easier to manipulate, which should be of interest to electronics manufacturers...