A grant has been awarded to 2DTech in order to find a process in which a graphene silicon combination could be used to coat electronics without corrosion Image courtesy of 2DTech

A grant has been awarded to 2-DTech in order to find a process in which a graphene, silicon combination could be used to coat electronics without corrosion. (Image courtesy of 2-DTech)

Graphene, Silicon Combo Could Replace Copper for Electronics Coatings

Graphene’s virtual impermeability makes it ideal for implementation in ultra-thin coatings for electronics to combat corrosion. 2-DTech, a corporate spin-off of the University of Manchester (where graphene was first isolated), is spearheading a project to improve anti-corrosive coatings through incorporation of graphene via a scalable and commercially-viable process.

Copper, with its inherent ability to conduct electricity, has been extensively used for this purpose. But in application scenarios with elevated levels of moisture, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and the like, copper corrosion severely infringes on system performance. Such corrosion can lead to overheating, malfunction, or be in direct defiance of current environmental directives such as RoHS. The research team aims to produce high crystalline quality silicon-doped graphene as a replacement.

The introduction of silicon as a dopant aims to fortify the multi-layer graphene’s domain boundaries. This could then result in a step change improvement in anti-corrosive silicon-graphene conductive films for application on to copper substrates via thermal chemical vapor deposition (TCVD). The combination would create an extremely thin coating while protecting against corrosion without disrupting the intra-domain crystalline structure.

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