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April 9th, 2007
Thin Carbon Is In: Graphene Steals Nanotubesí Allure
First, it was buckyballs, molecules of carbon in the shape of soccer balls.
Then came carbon rolled up in nanotubes.
Now, the latest craze in materials science is graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon that looks like molecular chicken wire.
Graphene is the thinnest of all possible materials in the universe. It shares many of the properties that excited physicists about nanotubes a decade ago, but it is easier to make and manipulate, giving greater hope that it will make the move from laboratory to practical application. Physicists have made transistors out of graphene and used it to explore odd quantum phenomena at room temperatures.
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