Sunday, July 09, 2006

US Patent 7071258 - Nanoscale Graphite

Graphite is one form of crystalline carbon found in everyday objects such as pencils. In this form the carbon atoms are arranged as a plurality of adjacent lattice planes that are relatively movable with respect to one another and which allow for electrical conduction. Individual atomic layers of graphite are referred to as graphene and a graphene sheet rolled into a tube of nanometer dimensions is equivalent to a carbon nanotube. While carbon nanotubes are seen as very useful for their mechanical and electrical properties it is difficult to manufacture nanotubes in bulk at a low cost. The inventors of this patent propose using nanoscale graphite instead to achieve some of the advantages of nanotubes but at less cost. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-scaled graphene plate material comprising at least a nanometer-scaled plate with said plate comprising a sheet of graphite plane or a multiplicity of sheets of graphite plane; said graphite plane comprising a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms and said plate having a length and a width parallel to said graphite plane and a thickness orthogonal to said graphite plane characterized in that the length, width, and thickness values are all smaller than 10 nanometers.