New Graphene Artworks Requires No Ink

Published Date : May 03, 2019

The term ‘electrifying art’ has a whole new meaning today. Here the word electrifying is not just an adjective describing the uniqueness of the art. The artists at Rice University are actually developing artworks that can conduct electricity. The art is based on the laser-induced grapheme (LIG) introduced in 2014 by James Tour.

Today researchers are making art with LIG converting carbon in microscopic flakes of graphene. Joseph Cohen designed a piece in an illustration program and sent it directly for industrial engraving. Tour’s labs did the engraving using LIG on a variety of material. During engraving, laser burned the fine lines into the substrate. During the illustration, an archive-quality paper which was treated with fire redundant was used.

How Researchers were Able to Achieve this ‘Electrifying Art’?

The designed piece was the part of Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative as Cohen’s exhibit. It demonstrates an in-depth view of shrunken to nanoscale elements look like when treated by LIG. The result was overlapping hexagons –an atom-thick graphene structure that disappeared at a distance.

According to Cohen, he started studying nanomaterials as a medium for his art when he was working with a Rice alumnus. Gathering enough data while working with carbon nanotubes-infused paint for two years, Cohen attended the conference of electrochemical society where he met Bruce Weisman and Paul Cherukuri. He took their assistance to investigate further into nanotechnology.

Tour says that it would be inappropriate to consider this process as printing. It is actually totally opposite of what printing is. Instead of adding something on a piece of paper, the process actually burns the substance as the laser turns the surface into flakes of graphene.