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Each atomic layer thin, tear-resistant, and stable. Graphene is seen as the material of the future. It is ideal for e.g. producing ultra-light electronics or highly stable mechanical components. But the wafer-thin carbon layers are difficult to produce. At the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Jürgen Kraus has manufactured self-supporting graphene membranes, and at the same time systematically investigated and optimized the growth of the graphene crystals.

Graphene breaks all records. It is the thinnest and most stable material in the world, ultralight, tear-proof, electrically conductive, and highly resilient. Since it was discovered in 2004, the two-dimensional structures composed of carbon atoms have fueled the imagination and inventive spirit. Science fiction authors consider the material suitable for building cables to drive space elevators. Material researchers are experimenting with graphene displays, transistors, and electrodes, which purport to make the electronics of the future lighter, more stable, and longer-lived. In the scientific community, films of highly pure graphene are highly coveted, as they allow gases and liquids to be packaged in an ultra-dense manner.

"Currently, however, the basic requirements are still lacking. There are various manufacturing processes which are suitable for the mass production of graphene. However, this material is not free of defects. Graphene of the highest crystalline quality cannot be reproducibly manufactured in this manner," explains Sebastian Günther, Professor for Physical Chemistry at the TUM. His team has now succeeded in analyzing, monitoring, and optimizing the growth of graphene crystals through chemical vapor deposition (CVD for short). The findings were recently published in the Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics).

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