Thursday, December 31, 2009

Flourescein Dye used to study world's thinnest sheet

The world's thinnest material is being studied with a dye used to stain the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day, scientists in Illinois said.

The dye flourescein, also used to find old blood stains at crime scenes, is being used to examine graphene, a one-atom thick sheet, Northwestern University scientists said.

Graphene has the potential to be used to make low-cost carbon-based electronics that are transparent and flexible, researcher Jiaxing Huang said in a release Wednesday.

Using flourescein to examine graphene and its derivatives avoids the use of expensive and time-consuming techniques such as atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.

"It's a simple and dirt-cheap method that works surprisingly well in many situations," Huang said of the flourescein imaging. Huang and his team have named their technique "fluorescence quenching microscopy."

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