Scientists from the University of Manchester have discovered that by combining Graphene, a one-atom thick layer of graphite, with the transition metal dichalcogenides, a material that can react to light, they are able to create a product that can generate electricity from sunlight. They can form thin sheets of the product that can be placed on buildings to absorb sunlight and turn it into electricity.
The product can give solar panels a run for their money, but the scientists aren't going to stop there. They intend to find a way to use this technology to produce a paint that can be used for homes, as well as other objects. However, Professor Kostya Novoselov, one of the scientists who discovered graphene, stated that the development of the paint isn't going to happen until much later in the future.
The graphene paint can be used to power a number of devices, with one emphasis being on mobile phones. The scientists believe that graphene paint would bring in a "new generation" of mobile phones that are solar powered and are ultra-thin. Not only can graphene paint be used to power objects, scientists believe that they will be able to make it change colors on-demand as well.
The scientists are optimistic about the development of graphene. Not only is the material harder than diamond, and able to conduct electricity, there are many more possibilities for it as well. Professor Novoselov stated that they would be able to use graphene to develop different types of products with a variety of properties other than producing solar powered energy. He states,
"We have been trying to go beyond graphene by combining with with other one atom thick materials. What we have been doing is putting different layers of these materials one on top of the other and what you get is a new type of material with a unique set of properties. It is like a book - one page contains some information but together the book is so much more. The implementations would go much further than simple solar powered cells"