Scientists at the National University of Singapore have come up with a way to trap liquids inside nanoscale bubbles made of graphene, topping a diamond substrate. "We discovered a way to bond the two materials together by heating the diamond to its reconstruction temperature where its surface hydrogen is desorbed," said Kian Ping Loh, the research team leader.
The team were able to use these graphene bubbles as high pressure chemical reactors to perform reactions that are normally forbidden, such as fullerene polymerisation.
Anvil cells generate extremes of pressure by applying a force over as small an area as possible. As one of the thinnest elastic membranes in existence, graphene can be strain-engineered to form nanometre bubbles; spaces small enough to reach extremes of pressure when heated.2 Thanks to the bubbles’ impermeability to almost any fluid, this implies that graphene could be used to seal and pressurise fluids in nano-sized liquid cells.