Is graphene lasering the future of product labelling? These scientists think so

Scientists have found a way to laser electricity-conducting labels onto food and textiles, using nothing at all.

Instead of overlaying a material onto the product to make the label, the laser is able to take the material and convert it into graphene.

Previously, the scientists from Rice University were only able to make graphene on materials that were made of a particular type of polymer, but after adjusting the laser, they were able to create it on a number of surfaces.

The best thing about this new method is that graphene can conduct electricity, so it can be used for a variety of interesting purposes.

This means the laser process can be used to label foodstuffs to show place of origin, journey to table and use-by dates, or include sensors to pick up the presence of E.coli and other dangerous micro-organisms.

(Rice University/PA)

“Very often, we don’t see the advantage of something until we make it available,” researcher James Tour said. “Perhaps all food will have a tiny RFID (Radio Frequency ID) tag that gives you information about where it’s been, how long it’s been stored, its country and city of origin and the path it took to get to your table.”

He also said Laser Induced Graphene tags could also be sensors that detect E.coli or other micro-organisms on food. “They could light up and give you a signal that you don’t want to eat this,” Tour said.

“All that could be placed not on a separate tag on the food, but on the food itself.”

 

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