Recently Prof. T Pradeep and his team at IIT Madras, India, have devised a method to prepare this wonder material with relatively low expenditure. They made graphene on commercially available stainless steel substrates (SS304, 0.1 mm thick) by a pyrolitic reaction, carried out in a custom hot-wall split tube furnace.

The source of carbon was ethyl alcohol, which was driven by a flow of hydrogen gas at a pressure a little above the atmosphere. The gas mixture was allowed to react with the substrate (SS304), which was heated to a temperature of 850 °C. After 10 minutes of reaction time, the substrate was cooled to room temperature at a rate of 100 °C/minute. The researchers found that this particular cooling rate is crucial for the formation of graphene.

Raman spectroscopy/microscopy was used to confirm the presence of a one atom thick layer of carbon. The role of SS304 composition on the formation of graphene was studied using photoelectron spectroscopy.

A full description of the work can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.