Graphene has been heralded as the new super-material. It possesses incredible strength and elasticity, while its exceptionally high conductivity and use in flexible semiconductors could soup up computing.
If that weren’t enough, there is another way that the atom-thick layers of carbon might improve your life: by stopping your shoes from smelling.
Sheets of graphene oxide are highly effective at killing bacteria, says Chunhai Fan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai.
Researchers sprayed sheets of the material with an aerosol rich in E.coli, and then placed the sheets in an incubator and examined them under a microscope.
“We observed that E.coli cells were destroyed when they interacted with the graphene oxide,” says Fan, providing the first evidence that graphene oxide kills bacteria.
The discovery could lead to a host of new applications, from warding off shoe odour to packaging that will help keep food fresh for longer.
Downtime also thinks semiconductors that can subdue rotten smells would have obvious benefits in teenagers’ bedrooms and some software development departments.