ANDRE GEIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDRE GEIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Graphite flakes, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). These flakes of graphite are 10 nanometres (billionths of a metre) thick. These flakes can be further cleaved by peeling apart using sticky tape to create single-atom-thick layers of graphite, known as graphene. Carbon atoms in graphene are arranged in a honeycomb crystal lattice that is both flexible and very strong. The material conducts electrons faster than silicon. It could one day replace silicon in applications such as nanometre sized electronics, cheap and efficient solar panels, transparent window coatings and miniature sensing technologies. Graphene was discovered by Andre Geim in 2004.
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