The researchers have revealed that when graphene is coated with light sensitive polymers, its unique electrical properties can be precisely controlled and therefore exploited. The polymers also protect the graphene from contamination. Light modified graphene chips have already been used at NPL in ultra precision experiments to measure the quantum of the electrical resistance.
In the future similar polymers could be used to effectively 'translate' information from their surroundings and influence how graphene behaves. According to NPL, this effect could be exploited to develop robust reliable sensors for smoke, poisonous gases, or any targeted molecule.