Rice University scientists experimented with various materials to create highly conductive laser-induced graphene, a foamy variant of the one-atom-thick form of carbon. Graphene burned into food could be used as radio-frequency tags for tracking or sensors to warn if the food is contaminated, according to Rice chemist James Tour. | Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

That’s Not Burnt Toast — It’s Graphene

Engineers prove that laser-induced graphene can be etched into everyday materials like cardboard, cotton fabric, potatoes, and sliced bread.

Rice scientists used a laser to burn graphene in the form of a Rice Owl into a piece of cloth pre-treated with fire retardant that turns the surface into amorphous carbon. | Jeff Fitlow
Brandon Martin/Rice University
Rice University chemist James Tour shows a potato enhanced with a conductive pattern of laser-induced graphene. He said graphene-based RFID tags burned directly into food could track the food’s path from farm to table. | Jeff Fitlow/Rice University