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Researchers Make Graphene From Girl Scout Cookies

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the why-the-aliens-need-our-resources dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 129

An anonymous reader writes "Last year we learned that the miracle material graphene could be made from common table sugar, and now researchers at Rice University have taken the discovery one step further by literally baking it from a box of girl scout cookies. A group of graduate students led by chemist James Tour recently teamed up with Houston Girl Scout troop 25080 to perform the feat using a single box of Trefoil cookies — which could potentially yield $15 billion worth of graphene."

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Supply and demand (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067062)

How can it be so valuable if it is so seemingly simple to make?

Re:Supply and demand (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067112)

1) It hasn't always been easy to make.
2) There is a huge difference between making something in a lab and doing it in production.
3) Say he made $5000 worth of it from a part of a cookie. It could have easily cost him $10,000 to make. See also fusion reactors.

Re:Supply and demand (3, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067204)

Judging from how much carbon I create whenever I try baking, I"m sure there has to be a butt load of graphene in the oven

Re:Supply and demand (2)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067220)

I'm pretty sure you don't *create* any carbon when you are baking.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067438)

I'm pretty sure you don't *create* any carbon when you are baking

2015 is right around the corner, and Mr. Fusion prototypes are already available to the lucky few. However, just like the Hoverboard they probably won't be released for retail sale due to safety concerns.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068322)

From TFA:

Typically, this happens in about 15 minutes in a furnace flowing with argon and hydrogen gas and turned up to 1,050 degrees Celsius.

So, about the standard cooking procedure for your usual barefoot-and-pregnant Texas housewife these days, while Husband Bubba the Tea Partier and his buddies are shooting guns at empty beer cans in the backyard and making more empty beer cans to shoot at?

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37069398)

You are just jealous because:

1. You don't have and are not likely to get a wife.
2. You are afraid of guns.

And you are also envious that in Texas, you CAN shoot a gun in your back yard (if the zoning is in agreement) without having an entire SWAT squad jump you.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069700)

Actually no, I'm just tired of dumbass Tea Partiers leaving a mess of shattered cans in the back corner of my backyard (shared fence) and scaring the shit out of my dog.

You know. Assholes like this guy [washington...endent.com] .

Tea Partiers. NO respect for their neighbors. Or women. Or minorities.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068334)

It's really striking how the cultural difference between 1955 and 1985 is so much greater than the difference between 1985 and 2015.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068164)

It's an old family recipe. 2 cups of Helium, bake at 100 million kelvin for 30 minutes, or until you destroy all life on the Earth.

Re:Supply and demand (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068476)

How do we know these cookies are made from real Girl Scouts? The could be substituting girl Scots for all we know.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069258)

Rule 34 [xkcd.com]

You just have to find it.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068610)

He didn't really say -what- he was cooking, or what he was cooking with. His oven might be a "Easy supernova oven 2000"

Re:Supply and demand (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067322)

"calculated that at the then-commercial rate for pristine graphene -- $250 for a two-inch square -- a box of traditional shortbread Girl Scout Cookies could turn a $15 billion profit."

So it definitely doesn't cost more to make than it's worth. They've already done the calculation and the $15bil was just the profit.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068032)

They've already done the calculation and the $15bil was just the profit.

Youll note that the price is for "pristine" graphene, and parents point was that if $5 investment could really turn into $15bil, everyone would be doing it. That is, in fact, capitalism at its best.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069412)

But then that $15 billion dollars everybody would be making wouldn't buy you a loaf of bread at the grocery store.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070126)

No, the price of graphene would fall. That is generally how it works.

When common flash drive capacities are 8mb (I remember this), getting a 1GB memory stick costs hundreds or thousands of dollars. As soon as it becomes trivial and easy to manufacture the 1GB sticks, the people making them cease to be able to sell them at their previous price-- the 8mb price tanks, the 1GB price drops sharply, and there is a new "high end" mark at a premium price.

Likewise, antimatter and iridium and graphene are extremely expensive because of their difficulty in manufacture. But if it becomes substantially easier to do, the price will fall sharply, unless demand picks up at a substantially greater rate than the production.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070092)

Youll note that the price is for "pristine" graphene, and parents point was that if $5 investment could really turn into $15bil, everyone would be doing it. That is, in fact, capitalism at its best.

Well, if that was the case, then before any one person could make $15bil .... loads of other people would glut the market and essentially make graphene worthless.

Despite what Wall Street likes to tell us ... capitalism doesn't really allow for an infinite amount of people to make an infinite amount of money. In fact, loads of people would end up with graphene nobody was interested in.

Capitalism is still bounded by reality, even though a lot of people wish it wasn't so.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37070520)

But nobody said $5 could turn into $15bil -- he said $15bil profit. Might be $5 for cookies, a couple million for equipment, and 1 trillion in operating costs -- but if you can sell the output for $1,015,002,000,005, you just made $15bil profit.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

craigminah (1885846) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068858)

At the rate Girl Scout cookies are increasing in price they should pick a different source material. Those cookies are delicious but way too expensive.

Re:Supply and demand (3, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069096)

Researcher: The girl-scout-derivative graphene is also delicious.
Girl Scout: That's good!
Researcher: But it is exceedingly expensive, even compared to the price of your cookies.
Girl Scout: That's bad!
Researcher: But each short ton of graphene is delivered with a free box of Tagalongs.
Girl Scout: That's good!
Researcher: The Tagalongs are similarly cursed.
Girl Scout: Cursed?
Researcher: Delicious but exceedingly expensive.
Girl Scout: Oh, that's bad.
Researcher: Don't get me started on the Samoas.
Girl Scout: Can I go home now?

Re:Supply and demand (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070460)

$15 billion per box? Order a few truckloads and lets get started. The US national debt will be gone soon.

Re:Supply and demand (3, Insightful)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067114)

... to perform the feat using a single box of Trefoil cookies — which could potentially yield $15 billion worth of graphene

It could potentially reduce the price of $15 billion worth of graphene to a single box of Terfoil cookies. Here, fixed that for you.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067406)

Or raise the price of Terfoil cookies to $15 billion a box. Far more likely!

Re:Supply and demand (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067488)

I'll have to cut back on my cookie consumption...

Re:Supply and demand (2)

g253 (855070) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067116)

TFA doesn't imply that it's simple to make ; merely that anything containing carbon can be used as raw material. The reason graphene is so valuable is precisely because it is so difficult to make on an industrial scale.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067458)

I don't know, the first article linked states this, "In another plus, the one-step process takes place at temperatures low enough to make the wonder material easy to manufacture."

Sounds pretty easy to me!

Re:Supply and demand (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068080)

Then the guy would have manufactured $15bil worth of the stuff before breaking the story. And in a further twist, theres no guarentee that it would continue to be worth $15bil if he makes that much.

For example, if someone figured out how to make gold on the cheap (super cheap heavy element fusion?), and manufactured $100 trillion in gold, trying to sell it would immediately lower the worth of the entire batch.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067558)

So similar to synthetic diamonds ( I don't mean Moissanite, Silicon Carbide, or Cubic Zirconia) which are used on an industrial scale. I remember seeing that they can be made of just about anything and the example they used was peanut butter. Now granted these mostly end up as being black diamonds but for industrial purposes who cares.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068658)

I'm not sure that is exactly correct. It may be time consuming and expensive, but that doesn't exactly make it difficult. I used to work in a semiconductor fab and some of the process we used processed at 1200C (melting point of Si is 1420C or close to that) and we more often than not used argon gas in processing due to it's properties as an inert gas. Being that hydrogen is a pretty abundant substance it seems the raw materials are fairly easy to come by. I guess the real challenge would be to find a market for large scale production and to find a viable manufacturing location since I'm sure it has to be performed in a clean room environment. Once you have the proper elements in place though, you could have a monkey pushing the start, stop, and unload buttons. That's pretty much what fab operators are in general anyhow. Just my 0.02.

Re:Supply and demand (5, Funny)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067118)

Because at the rate the dollar is going, in 5 years $15 billion is only going to buy you a box of girl scout cookies. And I'll take thinmint.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067218)

And if it gets to that point possession isn't going to be 9/10th of the law, it is going to be the whole law.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067384)

>And if it gets to that point weapon possession isn't going to be 9/10th of the law, it is going to be the whole law.

There, FTFY.

Re:Supply and demand (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067290)

At that point there won't be any Girl Scout cookies left to buy, since the Girl Scouts will have switched to selling graphene.

They will however trademark the name "Very, Very Thin Mint".

Re:Supply and demand (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067502)

I used to think you Americans and your obsession with girlscout cookies were weird in a sort of cutesy way.

Then a few years ago my dad brought some thin mints back from a business trip to the US, a colleague had evidently been selling them in the office.

Now I understand.

Re:Supply and demand (2)

kryliss (72493) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067856)

They're addictive because they put crack in the girl scout cookies.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068632)

Actually, I hear they're considering adding thin mints to crack to improve its addictivity...

Re:Supply and demand (1)

danwiz (538108) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069458)

It's a FACT ... A lot of underage crack goes into Girl Scout cookies.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068268)

It's because they're made from real girl scouts.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068646)

There's also the limited release factor working for it. If you could just buy them at the store year round, people might get used to them. We tolerate it though because we assume the girl scouts are a good cause, and there is enough junk food out there year round.

Me personally, I'd rather have egg nog available anytime I want it.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069558)

If you could just buy them at the store year round, people might get used to them.

There's a great discussion in "artificial scarcity [wikipedia.org] " and related topics like DRM in there somewhere.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068834)

and once you read the ingredients you'll understand the current health problems in the states.

Re:Supply and demand (5, Interesting)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067188)

The most exalted rulers of France used to dine on aluminum tableware, as aluminum was more valuable than gold. Then we discovered how to electrolytically extract it from sand. Now we package sugar water in it. The first time they made aluminum that way, they got super rich as they sold just under the amount it was going for, and the price just kept going down from there.

Re:Supply and demand (5, Informative)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067446)

Another interesting fact along the same lines is the cap on the Washington Monument [wikipedia.org] is also made out of aluminum for the same reason. To quote the Wikipedia article on the Washington Monument:

it was finally completed, with the 100 ounce (2.85 kg) aluminum tip/lightning-rod being put in place on December 6, 1884. The tip was the largest single piece of aluminum cast at the time, when aluminum commanded a price comparable to silver. Two years later, the Hall–Héroult process made aluminum easier to produce and the price of aluminum plummeted, making the once-valuable tip nearly worthless

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068266)

Another interesting fact along the same lines is the cap on the Washington Monument [wikipedia.org] is also made out of aluminum for the same reason.

Damn it, now we're going to have fucking meth-heads trying to climb the damn thing so they can recycle it for CA$H. ;)

Re:Supply and demand (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068720)

Good. They should all attempt it.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069828)

That sounds like a problem that will solve itself.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37069254)

making the once-valuable tip nearly worthless

Thats what she said!

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37069396)

it was finally completed, with the 100 ounce (2.85 kg) aluminum tip/lightning-rod being put in place on December 6, 1884. The tip was the largest single piece of aluminum cast at the time, when aluminum commanded a price comparable to silver. Two years later, the Hall–Héroult process made aluminum easier to produce and the price of aluminum plummeted, making the once-valuable tip nearly worthless

A more apt metaphor for the United States than I imagined. I thought it was just a phallic symbol, but it's also in the materials.

Damn what a conspiracy.

Re:Supply and demand (2)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069354)

"The first time they made aluminum that way, they got super rich as they sold just under the amount it was going for. . ."

I was thinking about this once, in the context of thinking about the Polywell Reactor. For those unfamiliar with it, it is a proposed type of fusion reactor, whose proponents think it might possibly be able to produce very cheap electric power. Nobody really knows if that'll pan out or not, but I got to thinking about this:

*IF* it did work out (not saying it will), and you could produce power with it a cost of say, 1 cent per kWh of electricity (or even less; not saying you will be able to, but just for the sake of argument), then whoever brings online the very first Polywell stands to make enormous profits - if you figure an average market price of about 10 cents per kWh for electricity, all the owners/operators have to do is sell for 1 or 2 cents below the average price, and they'll likely sell the electricity (they don't even necessarily have to be the cheapest in the market, just cheap enough to undercut some of the more expensive providers).

So, I was trying to puzzle out if this was a market failure, or a market success. I mean, my first thought was that it was somewhat unjust to sell the power at more than say, a 10 or 20 percent profit (after all, every company must make a profit to survive, but doesn't need to make 800-1000% profit.

But, I kept thinking about it, and I decided that such levels of profitability would do 2 things: First, it would allow that company to have the funds to start building a lot more of the new technology, which long-term would have a lot of benefits for society as a whole - in the case of a clean, nearly 100% safe power source which produces no long-lived waste problems, it would solve the energy crisis for the world, so those huge profits would mean that the superior technology can quickly replace the old, incumbent technologies, instead of fighting an uphill battle for a century or two. That is to say, if the technology was forced to limit itself to small profit margins, then larger companies could overcome the technological superiority of the new power company's polywell reactor by using marketing tactics that would forstall the growth of the new tech, based on the sheer size of the installed base and revenues of the old companies.

Secondly, very large profit margins would cause other companies to sit up and take notice, and cause them to decide to dump their old technologies sooner that they otherwise might, to license/buy the new technology of their own. What this means is that huge profit margins due to a new technology which dramatically reduces the costs of production of some commodity, will only be a temporary situation - the market *will* gradually (but perhaps fairly quickly - e.g. if the polywell reactor worked that well and produced power that cheaply, you could maybe start to see power prices come down 5 percent per year for like 20 years in a row, until prices reached a new equilibrium based upon the real costs of production).

Short term large profit margins reward the inventors and investors who designed, then implemented the new technology. Longer-term, the prices will come down and everyone will benefit.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069816)

Market success.
At first, the people who came outwith it would make a lot of money, so win. Within a few years, competition will drive the price down, so consumer win.

If the company that comes out with ti owns the patent on the tech. Then they will start selling it when thy stop making money hand over fist. If they don't sell it, they will be under more and more pressure until they do.

Personally, I would lease the tech for 10 million up front and 1 cent per a KwH..

Re:Supply and demand (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069950)

Congratulations, you just derived free market economic theory using predictions of integrated human action across large scale populations.

Now, using your newfound theory that you have heroically derived from first principles, contemplate the effects of various forms of government interaction with the markets. You will see many interesting things, and might just notice that we have a one party system in the USA.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070524)

Ok, here's one way in which government interaction with the markets may affect things:

The Polywell research was highly risky, with no guarantee of payoff, so private investors weren't interested in putting millions of dollars into research. However, the Navy saw that there was enough scientific basis that they apparently thought it was worth spending, at first, a relatively small amount of money for some basic research with small models. As each stage of research produced interesting results, they kept approving further stages of research, with higher levels of funding.

It's still not guaranteed that it will work (though we are supposed to have some sort of information publicly released next winter sometime). If it does work, it would be a huge benefit to the Navy, which is why the Navy is funding it to begin with. But, if it *does* work, we'll have a technology which might not have seen the light of day, or might have had to wait to be discovered much longer in the future.

I'm not saying all government interaction with the markets is good, certainly much of it is bad, but neither is it all bad, either.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067686)

Simple to make does not imply low cost energy inputs, low cost machinery, or a high yield process. Also there may be a greater demand for the product than the available supply which will naturally drive up prices, see the current gold price.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069036)

Graphene is made of carbon. We are nowhere near the point where carbon is difficult to acquire, expensive, or even in limited supply.

In short, an economic comparison of graphene with gold is much like an economic comparison of eating at a restaurant with burning down your house. It's not that you can't make such a comparison... it's that such a comparison is almost entirely worthless.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069572)

that's the "street value", you know how it is

$15 billion no more. (2)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067082)

The previous poster is right about supply and demand...

If this is really so easy that it produced $15 billion worth, then the price of graphene is about to plummet.

Re:$15 billion no more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067108)

Also, the demand on Girl Scout cookies will make them (more) unaffordable.

Re:$15 billion no more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067132)

Thank God they didn't use Thin Mints!

Re:$15 billion no more. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067450)

There is a cost for purity.

I can buy sugar at grocery store prices. I can go to the pharmacy and spend a bit more for the same glucose molecules. I can go to Fischer and pay a dear price for the same glucose molecules. The difference is not only the price, but what I get with my glucose.

At the store I get glucose and a whole lot more. At concentrations suitable for food production, the "whole lot more" isn't very important. At the pharmacy, I'm starting to get into the ~99% glucose range. That's much better for types of cooking where purity becomes important. For example, one could easily do spun sugar or sugar sculpture from pharmacy sugar, but it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to do it from regular baking sugar. At the labroatory supply, I can buy 99.997% pure glucose. It may be overkill for some experiments; but, it allows me to not be so concerned with whether the effects I see are tied to the procedure or the impurity of the reagents.

I'll bet that girl scout graphene is more about detecting traces of graphene in a very dirty sample. Even if there were a girl scout graphene plant, it would likely cost quite a bit to isolate and purify the graphene in ways that doesn't include other carbon molecules, residues of solvents, etc.

In other words, the price of graphene might drop; but, there's a lot more to "making" graphene than finding it in a residue.

Re:$15 billion no more. (1)

mrbester (200927) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068196)

You do realise sucrose is a pentose, whereas glucose is a hexose right?

Re:$15 billion no more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068420)

You do realise sucrose is a disaccharide while any pentose or hexose is a monosaccharide right?

Re:$15 billion no more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37068308)

I can buy sucrose at grocery store prices. Sucrose is not glucose.

There, I fixed that for you.

Re:$15 billion no more. (2)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068558)

In every case, the researchers were able to make high-quality graphene via carbon deposition on copper foil. In this process, the graphene forms on the opposite side of the foil as solid carbon sources decompose; the other residues are left on the original side. Typically, this happens in about 15 minutes in a furnace flowing with argon and hydrogen gas and turned up to 1,050 degrees Celsius.

To demonstrate, the researchers subsequently tested a range of materials, as reported in the new paper, including chocolate, grass, polystyrene plastic, insects (a cockroach leg) and even dog feces (compliments of lab manager Dustin James' miniature dachshund, Sid Vicious).

Aha! (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067120)

They are made from coal, then?

Pointless gimmick? (1)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067144)

I've heard of the copper deposition method for creating graphene before - this isn't new. Is this just a pointless gimmicky way to get headlines? (In case we didn't realise that a structure made of carbon could be derived from carbon-based materials)

Re:Pointless gimmick? (5, Funny)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067184)

No, it's an important way to get girls involved in research, so that they can learn at an early age that girls can do many different things, such as bake cookies for scientists.

Re:Pointless gimmick? (1)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067292)

Are these girl scout cookies made from real girl scouts?

Girl Scouts don't bake anymore (4, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067836)

I don't know how things are where you live, but here Girl Scouts don't bake cookies. They just buy mass produced packages in bulk and resell with markup. This adequately prepares them for functioning in our society that no longer produces anything, and, evidently, doesn't even want to.

Re:Girl Scouts don't bake anymore (1)

zerro (1820876) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069310)

ahh, good ole slashdot... It's been a while since I have seen a quality tree of posts.. Post, parent, and grandparent all made me chuckle...

Re:Girl Scouts don't bake anymore (1)

Gotung (571984) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069464)

Our industrial output is higher then it's even been. But just like farming it takes a hell of a lot less people to do it these days. And very sophisticated computer controlled production is getting to the point where even smallish production runs in the states can be price competitive with Chinese human labor.

It is actually a good thing that we sort of "lucked out" by offshoring a lot of our manufacturing jobs and shifted to a service economy earlier then everybody else. In the long run, as automated manufacturing continues to displace even the lowest skilled, cheapest human labor out there we will be in a great position while other countries whose economies still depend on those jobs will be totally screwed.

Re:Pointless gimmick? (4, Informative)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067208)

NOT pointless. It shows that the impurities in the starting material are irrelevant to the process, meaning that this process is going to make graphene cheaper than paper before long.

This is equivalent to someone inventing a process for producing super-high quality silicon from sandy mud without purification steps. Currently, only the highest grade of silica can be used for manufacturing of that type.

Re:Pointless gimmick? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069320)

Indeed. Graphene has been around for a while and it's properties are very exciting for electronics. However manufacturing cost has been a huge issue.

Now, being able to produce graphene itself cheaply is not the same as being able to be able to cheaply manufacture goods which use graphene as a functional component... but it is clearly a prerequisite, and a major hurdle to overcome if not the major hurdle.

There have been lots of new technologies with the promise of being able to supplant silicon transistors. Now, finally, we may be about to see one of them actually come to pass.

Very exciting.

Re:Pointless gimmick? (1)

flanders_down (2424442) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069324)

Quite true. With the procedure being this easy, it's almost something I can do in my garage. I can get argon and hydrogen from the welding supplier. I already have a kiln that hits 2000F degrees. Making graphene could become a cottage industry :-)

Re:Pointless gimmick? (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070002)

Damn, dude. I wish I had a kiln. I want to make a graphene t-shirt. Then maybe find out if it's bulletproof (using a dummy, of course).

But yes, graphene is going to change everything. Imagine solar panels that are printed like newspaper, and at the same price. And that's just to start!

Revelation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067176)

If they can get that much from one box of the girl scout cookies; imagine how much they could get from one girl scout!

Re:Revelation (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067480)

Soylent Graphene?

Cost of materials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067330)

Last time I bought Girl Scout cookies, the price seemed awfully high and the box seemed awfully small. Surely a cheaper source of cookies would be easy to find.

Re:Cost of materials (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069052)

Maybe their grocery store ran out of Chips Ahoy?

Oh great (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067404)

Another thing for the girl scouts to pitch you on.

"OK, that will be 3 boxes of thin mints, one Do-si-do, and two Trefoils WITH graphene, for $ 30,000,006.00. Do you want to pay now or when the cookies are ready?"

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067626)

You've got cheap girl scout cookies if the four boxes of *actual* cookies only set you back six bucks. Or you haven't ordered them in a long time...

Re:Oh great (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068236)

"Big order discount."

Re:Oh great (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070136)

It's like the Mafia. I just pay what they ask.

What is the point? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067546)

Is the sugar content of girl scout cookies higher than table sugar or is this a blatant case of a chemist going, "naner naner. I have so many girl scout cookies i can waist them in experiments"? It is obviously the later. To that I say, these are troubled times and this type of gloating is unacceptable!

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067802)

"waste"
"latter"

*sigh*

Re:What is the point? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067848)

No, he's talking about what'll happen to his waist later. After he eats the cookies, that is.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37070178)

They obviously did it as a publicity stunt. It probably was a good way to help out the girl scouts, and to make science more interesting for them.

$15 billion? (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067620)

Is this from one box of cookies, or all of them?

Re:$15 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067748)

A single box. The previous methods for producing graphene were so ludicrously expensive that the actual fact of what you could DO with graphene once it was made was irrelevant.

Thats why we don't have graphene semiconductors etc yet.

Trefoil = plain shortbread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37067696)

FWIW, "trefoil" is the name for the plain shortbread variety, named after the shape/logo the cookie is molded into.

omg (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067746)

... read the title on this story as: "Researchers Make Graphene From Girl Scouts". To say that I was intrigued is to understate it severely.

The alchemists have finally turned.. (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067814)

lead into gold.

Re:The alchemists have finally turned.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069854)

Sweet, now my lead investments will pay off.

...out of just about anything with carbon. (1)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | more than 3 years ago | (#37067922)

Soylent Graphene is people!!

Re: ...out of just about anything with carbon. (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068730)

Soylent Graphene is Girl Scouts!!

FTFY

Cookie Abuse! (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068230)

It just seems morally wrong to waste perfectly good girl scout cookies on something like this! The poor little cookies just want to be eaten!

At least they didn't use samoas.

Forgive me Slashdot, for I have RTFA (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#37068528)

To demonstrate, the researchers subsequently tested a range of materials, as reported in the new paper, including chocolate, grass, polystyrene plastic, insects (a cockroach leg) and even dog feces (compliments of lab manager Dustin James' miniature dachshund, Sid Vicious).

In every case, the researchers were able to make high-quality graphene via carbon deposition on copper foil. In this process, the graphene forms on the opposite side of the foil as solid carbon sources decompose; the other residues are left on the original side. Typically, this happens in about 15 minutes in a furnace flowing with argon and hydrogen gas and turned up to 1,050 degrees Celsius.

The best part of that (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37069898)

is that someone has a miniature dachshund with the name 'Sid Vicious".

headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37070154)

Did anyone else misread the headline as "Researchers make Girl Scout out of Graphene"?

You should see my freezer stash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37070310)

I've got enough Thin Mints stashed away to pay off the national debt.

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