Professor discusses graphene potential

Jake Saferstein

UCLA professor Richard Kaner lectured students on graphene and its uses in Ahmanson Lecture Hall during activities Sept. 9.

Kaner received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and is the Associate Editor for the Materials Research Bulletin. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society, the Electrochemical Society and the Materials Research Society. Kaner specializes in inorganic chemistry, materials and nanoscience.

Graphene is a molecule of a single layer of carbon atoms in a hexagonal pattern. It is a basic building block of other crystals such as graphite, a stack of graphene molecules used for lubrications and is the key element of pencils.

Kaner discussed many potential uses of graphene like how it both bends and conducts electricity, so bendable electronics are a possibility in the near future.

Graphene also stores and conducts electricity well, which allows it to charge current smartphones in less than a second and electric busses in China in a few seconds. Another example of graphene’s conductivity is its use to power a whole store with just one revolving door, Kaner said.

In addition to his presentation, Kaner distributed demos in which students could peel graphite layer by layer into graphene and laser artwork where graphene oxide was heated to form graphene.

“I enjoyed that he explained all the uses of graphene, and I especially liked the buses in China that charge quickly at every stop [using graphene as a superconductor],” Jack Graham ’15 said.