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Graphene is a material that is known for being super flimsy. However, the softness and ultrathin structure of the material did not stop experts from the University of Jyväskylä's Nanoscience Center from increasing its hardness. Through the process of optical forging, the material is transformed into ultra-stiff graphene.

What is Graphene?

STM images of (b) monolayer (ML) and (c) bilayer (BL) graphene. Scale bar: 1 nm.
(Photo: Kendal W. Clark et al. / WikiCommons)

The graphene material is made up of ultra-thin properties. The feature of graphene somehow resembles a honeycomb sheet. This includes atomic carbon structure, excellent thermal conductivity, charge carrier, and top-notch optical transparency.

The strength of graphene is 200 times intensified compared to steel. In addition, it is known to be harder than diamond, more stretchable than rubber, and has a lighter weight than aluminum. This is one of the reasons why graphene is heavily used in nanomechanical studies and applications. On the other hand, the softness of the material makes it harder to fabricate and doesn't make any three-dimensional specimen stable, reports Phys.org.

But the difficulty surrounding the experiments with graphene could now be more accessible than ever. We may research more using stiff graphene thanks to the study published in Nature entitled "Ultrastiff graphene." The experiment was conducted using laser treatment, making the flimsy material into a more rigid version.

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Optical Forging and Graphene in Nanotechnology

The team of scientists is also known for their previous research on three-dimensional graphene construction using a laser process called optical forging. The laser helps to intensify the heat, which affects the graphene's composition to expand. The expansion of the material's lattice produces a stable 3D structure.

In reference to the study, the findings show that the bending of graphene was forced to stop due to optical forging. The method uses strain engineering to affect the graphene's ultra-thin layers directly. Part of the research was to construct the elasticity of the graphene membranes, and it shows that the effect of optical forging works on the tiniest scales, including micro and nano.

It may seem that the entire unit of graphene was changed, but it did not. The material's mechanical properties were simply enhanced and modified to cater to the shift in the structure. The change that was exhibited by the graphene was merely a change in shape due to the amplified effect from optical forging.

The findings from the research suggest more possibilities for new nanomechanical applications. Although the overall process is transparent on the results, the atomic level of defect-making will be further studied. The research paved easy to nanotechnological possibilities such as microelectromechanical scaffold fabrication and controlling graphene resonance frequency to the extent of GHz. It will also add a contribution to improve medicinal studies using microscale structures to house intravenous drugs.

Overall, the research has awed researchers, as the results of their work will make things easy in the future. The optical forging is beneficial, especially in using graphene, as it allows experts to target precise areas where they need it to be. The future of optical forging will soon be abundant, as more studies will come up using the technology. It will also help to construct more graphene devices efficiently in the right way.

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