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Graphene offers an unexpected double defense against mosquitoes



Conclusion: Clothing that repels mosquitoes could be a game changer, especially for those out in the open. Not only are mosquitoes very annoying, but they can also transmit all sorts of nasty diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, and the West Nile virus.

Graphene was once praised as a miracle material that allows everything from faster computer chips to space lifts. While we are still waiting for these advances to take shape, scientists have come up with all sorts of surprising alternative uses for the wonder material.

The latest is from researchers at Brown University, who found that graphene can provide a double defense against mosquitoes.

When coating a thin piece of fabric with the two-dimensional hexagonal lattice, the researchers found that mosquitoes could not generate enough force to penetrate their proboscis ̵

1; the needle-like mouth parts that penetrate the skin. Although this physical barrier is helpful, it is not even the best in graphene.

Strangely enough, researchers also observed that graphene blocks the chemical signals that attract mosquitoes at all. "With the graphene, the mosquitoes did not even land on the skin plaster – they just did not seem to care," said Cintia Castilho, Ph.D. Student at Brown University and lead author of the study.

The graphene oxide coated (GO) wipe was effective as a physical barrier only when dry. In the wet state, mosquitoes were able to penetrate the defense, although a modified version with reduced oxygen content (called rGO) in the wet or dry state proved to be useful. However, as a portable material, rGO is not particularly efficient because it is not breathable.

"Our preferred embodiment of this technology would be to find a way to mechanically stabilize GO so that it remains stable when wet. This next step would provide us with the full benefits of breathability and bite protection, "said Robert Hurt, a professor at Brown's School of Engineering and senior author of the paper.

Imprint: Moskito by Khlungcenter. Second photo courtesy of Brown University.


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