Making graphene visible

Swedish design studio Andréason & Leibel along with master student Virgínia Boix of Lund University developed a method to make graphene visible, reminiscent to photograms of early photography.

Graphene is an extremely light and strong material that is also an excellent conductor of electricity. Praised for its wonderous properties, graphene is added to an increasing amount of products, ranging from garments to paint. Measuring only 1 atom in thickness, it is a 2D form of carbon and invisible to the naked eye.

For the project What Matter_s, driven by Southern Sweden Creatives in 2018, material designers were matched up with researchers to experiment together to find new innovative solutions based on the latest material research in southern Sweden. Andréason & Leibel cooperated with Virgínia Boix of Lund University, a researcher of 2D materials.

For their project, called Graphenogram, they aimed to make graphene visible by using a process that is reminiscent of Henry Fox Talbot’s invention of photograms in the days of early photography. This technique, photo-thermal exfoliation, transforms graphite oxide into graphene. A plate of acrylic glass is coated in a graphite oxide solution and exposed to high intensity strobes of light, leaving a silvery layer of graphene on the surface.

Anything obscuring the light becomes imprinted on the plate, resulting a new kind of image created from the modern day variant of a historic process.

Photos: Andréason & Leibel