Apparently, when it comes to making graphene, the 21st-century "miracle material" taking manufacturing by storm, you can do things the hard way or the fun way.
The hard ways - and there are dozens - all have their own complications. Some require high temperatures and long "cooking" times, others require the use of hazardous chemicals like sulfuric acid or hydrazine.
The easy way comes from physicists at Kansas State University, and the process is admirably straightforward: Fill a steel containment unit with oxygen and hydrocarbon gas, detonate it with the spark and, voila, a bucketload of soot-like graphene. Scrape it out and repeat.
Feel free to peruse the full details in the recently issued patent. But the bottom line, according to the research team, is that this new detonation technique can produce high yields of graphene in a one-step process that will save manufacturers significant amounts of time and money.
"Our process has many positive properties, from the economic feasibility, the possibility for large-scale production and the lack of nasty chemicals," said lead researcher Chris Sorensen in the university's official announcement. "What might be the best property of all is that the energy required to make a gram of graphene through our process is much less than other processes, because all it takes is a single spark."
Check out the demo video for the Kansas State project below.