Have you heard of a material that’s lighter than paper, more conductive than copper, and stronger than steel? Due to its versatile properties, Graphene truly transformed the face of many industries, and has opened the doors to the development of innovative products such as bendable touch screens, or photovoltaic cells. Now, scientists from Warsaw’s Institute of Electronic Materials Technology (ITME) have discovered a new use for the wonder material: magnetic field sensors perfect for electric vehicles.

Magnetic field sensors are utilized in a variety of products, from keyboards, to space rocket engines. While their construction is fairly simple, the materials traditionally used for their development were not sturdy enough to be utilized in extreme conditions. Researchers from ITME have decided to test the patented technology of depositing Graphene on silicon carbide while constructing a magnetic field sensor, in order to see how the materials would hold up in a similar setting. Soon enough, they’ve realized that the innovation would find an use in a variety of machines which tend to function in extremely high temperatures.

There are other sensors available on the market which utilize the same effect, but they’re built from silicon, gallium arsenide, indium arsenide or indium antimonium, all of which are semiconductors. (…) Graphene is much more temperature-resistant – it’s a sensor which can be cooled in liquid nitrogen, so in minus 200 degrees Celsius. It can also be heated up to 500 degrees. It will still work. – explains Dr. Eng. Tymoteusz Ciuk of ITME.

Currently, the researchers from Warsaw are searching for R&D companies who will implement the graphene sensors within their own products. According to Dr. Eng. Ciuk, the innovation could find a home in products in a variety of industries which rely on work in high temperatures, such as electric car engines, metrology, mining, industrial automation, or even military equipment. To be clear, we do not know all of the possibilities of our project. Our knowledge regarding the use of the sensor increases each month. Perhaps [in the future] we’ll discover an application for the sensor we don’t know about today. – added Dr. Eng. Ciuk.

The Graphene Magnetic Field Sensor research project has been funded by the National Research and Development Center, and will last until the end of 2020.