Graphene and carbon nanotubes

Graphene is the first two-dimensional (2D) atomic crystal available. It is the strongest and lightest material we know, yet exceptionally flexible. It exhibits extreme mechanical stiffness, high elasticity, and superior electrical and thermal conductivity. Researchers use supercontinuum lasers to map and characterize graphene and carbon nanotubes.

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms held together by sp2 hybridized carbon atom bonds. Carbon nanotubes, essentially, are rolled-up sheets of graphene.

Examples of applications

Because graphene is such a strong material, it can be used to strengthen other materials. A sheet of graphene can be rolled up to form a carbon nanotube, which resembles a microscopic straw. Only, this straw is extremely thin and extremely strong at the same time.

Having zero effective mass, it does not add to the weight of the material it enhances. Obvious applications are building materials, aerospace, and others where lightness and strength are of the essence.

Graphene can also be used to spread heat due to its high electrical conductivity. This is especially useful in the microelectronics area, for strain sensors, supercapacitors, batteries that can recharge quickly, solar cells, and LEDs to name a few. It also makes it ideal for high-speed quantum physics experiments.

Due to its impermeability is can be used to filter water to get clean drinking water and graphene-based paint can prevent corrosion.

Use a SuperK supercontinuum laser to characterize graphene.

Get access to these techniques with our white light laser:

  • Fluorescence quenching microscopy
  • Scanning probe microscopy (SNOM/NSOM/STM/AFM)
  • Absorption spectroscopy/microscopy
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Photoluminescence (PL) & photoluminescence excitation (PLE)
  • Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) adsorption spectroscopy
  • Rayleigh imaging and spectroscopy


The work listed below uses the SuperK supercontinuum laser from NKT Photonics to characterize graphene or carbon nanotubes.