Graphene inks may be used to print electronic devices during long term space missions.
“Graphene Flagship partners, Université Libre de Bruxelles, University of Pisa and the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), launched a rocket into space from Kiruna, Sweden on June 24th.
The experiment aims to test the possibilities of printing graphene inks in space. Studying the different self-assembly modes of graphene into functional patterns in zero-gravity will enable the fabrication of graphene electronic devices during long-term space missions, as well as help understand fundamental properties of graphene printing on Earth. This mission is also a first step towards the investigation of graphene for radiation shielding purposes, an essential requirement of manned space exploration.
The Materials Science Experiment Rocket (MASER) 14 was launched from the European Space Centre in Esrange, Sweden, thanks to a collaboration between the ESA, SSC, and three Graphene Flagship partners. The objective is to test the printing of graphene patterns on silicon substrates in zero gravity conditions.
Graphene Flagship partner University of Cambridge pioneered the use of liquid phase exfoliation to prepare graphene and related materials inks. Such inks are now used to print all sorts of devices, ranging from flexible electronic sensors, gauges, to batteries and supercapacitors and many others. Graphene-inks are already in the market, and many Graphene Flagship partner companies and spin-outs are commercialising this technology.
This first experiments with graphene in space, led by Graphene Flagship partner Université Libre de Bruxelles, will allow to better understand the fundamentals of the printing process on Earth, by removing the presence of gravity and studying how graphene flakes self-assemble.
Most importantly, these experiments are a first step towards making graphene printing available for long term space exploration, since astronauts may need to print electronic devices on demand to cope with long-term missions. Graphene-based composites may also be used to offer radiation protection, another compulsory requirement to enable manned space explorations, for example during Mars-bound missions.”
Read more Graphene goes to space
Source: Graphene Flagship
Image: The Graphene Flagship participates in a sounding-rocket launch in collaboration with the European Space Agency to test the printing of graphene devices in space. (Picture: Christophe Minetti, ULB)