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This Material Will Power the Future--If Somebody Can Profit From It

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Graphene is a 2D lattice of carbon with bonds as strong as diamond.

Scientists are working to develop a "killer app" for graphene.


University of Manchester researchers are working to prove that graphene will enable significant advances in material science, although skeptics question its commercial potential.

In 2004, University of Manchester scientists Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov discovered that when they stuck a strip of Sellotape to a piece of graphite, they could peel up a single-atom-thin flake of graphite. When the scientists studied the isolated graphite flake, they found it held properties such as electrical conductivity 100 times faster than silicon, strength 200 times greater than steel, and impressive optical and thermal characteristics.

University of Manchester scientists now are working to develop a graphene "killer app" offering distinct advantages over existing technologies at a low manufacturing cost.

Researchers predict that graphene will enable flexible screens for consumer devices within three years, and big applications in electronics such as ultrafast low-power processors and memory chips within 10 years. In addition, researchers believe graphene will enable superior mechanical flexibility and chemical durability with touchscreen devices, which currently use indium tin oxide. Graphene also might help technology keep pace with Moore’s Law, because its quantum mechanical properties offer a way of making innumerable tiny, high-speed, ultra-low-power digital electronics.

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