Researchers at the Technical University of Munich have found that graphene can be combined with porphyrins, the molecules that convey oxygen in haemoglobin and absorb light during photosynthesis, to get a material with exciting new properties. The resulting hybrid structures could be used in the field of molecular electronics, solar cells and in developing new sensors.
The technique involves growing a graphene layer on a surface of silver to use its catalytic properties. Then, under ultra-high vacuum conditions, porphyrin molecules are added. These lose the hydrogen atoms from their periphery when heated on the metal surface, and they end up connecting to the graphene edges.