Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material known to man that conducts electricity and heat better than any other substance. The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics, and the $1.4 million dollar award that goes with it, were awarded to a duo of Russian scientists who discovered graphene. Physics labs worldwide are experimenting with graphene in ways that may lead to unprecedented technological leaps in computers, televisions and exotic new materials.
Discovering Graphene with Scotch tape
At Manchester University, Nobel laureates Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov together discovered Graphene. The New York Times reports that while investigating the electrical properties of graphite, they tried peeling layers of it off with Scotch tape. They came up with a form of carbon a single atom thick. A sheet of Graphene on top of a coffee cup with the weight of a truck on pencil point will be supported , says the New York Times. This is because Graphene is so extremely thin and strong. Graphene’s amazing ability to conduct electricity and heat could make silicon obsolete in computer chips, work as an ultra-sensitive pollution-monitoring material, revolutionize flat screen TVs and enable the exploration of new physics.
Will graphene make everything different?
Geim told CNN he envisioned that graphene applications could change everyday life much like plastic did. Atoms are arranged like chicken wire, in a hexagonal array of carbon that ends up making it a two-dimensional material. The flexible abilities of graphene make it “fundamentally different” from graphite. It has a special ability about it. Two dimensional materials like graphene lead scientists into areas of other dimensions including zero-dimensional atoms and one-dimensional nanowires. This is what Geim and Graphene Industries explained while working together closely. CNN wrote that Geim said graphene can do innumerable amounts of things. It could never even be counted.
Coming attractions in graphene technology
Around the world there are many laboratories working with graphene. One thing discovered by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, was graphene is like a magnetic field when it is being stretched out, says PC World. Parts of electronic devices might be built differently because of this material. Science reports that researchers in South Korea have figured out how to grow graphene in sheets big enough to make touch-screen displays twice as durable as the current technology.
New York Times: http://nytimes.com/2010/10/06/science/06nobel.html?_r=1&hp
PC World: http://pcworld.com/article/206931/graphene_nanobubbles_could_mean_more_powerful_gadgets.html?tk=hp_new
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