What is graphene?
Graphene is the strongest, yet thinnest possible material you can imagine. It's so strong that It would take something the size of an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of a piece of paper. Graphene is so thin at molecular level (about 0.142 nm) that a stack of 7 million sheets would be only a millimeter thick.
The theory of it was first explored in 1947 by theoretical physicist Philip Wallace. Graphene was synthesized only in 2004 by Dr Andrei Geim and Dr Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester. They both won the nobel prize for their experiments and work with graphene materials.
This material is basically one of the most amazing things that mankind has ever invented, so amazing in fact that many say it will change our lives forever.
Use in future technology and electronics
It can conduct electricity as well as copper, and would make a fantastic substance for integrated circuits. When it comes to conducting heat, it perform better than just about every material known to man.
Graphene won't replace silicon when it comes to building computer processors, but it will work nicely with silicon, increasing conductivity and allow heat to disperse more efficiently, keeping the chips cooler. This will also have a green effect in the fact that it will allow computers, mobile phones and just about any other electronic device you can imagine to use less power to operate, and give batteries longer life per charge.
Medical and health uses
The molecules are also so tight that not even a single helium atom can pass through it, making it great for storing food in an air tight container. It's also highly anti-bacterial and is very effective in killing the deadly e-coli bacterial.
The strength and light weight of it also makes it ideal for creating medical implants, since they won't break down and won't need to be very thick.
This amazing material seems to be the strongest thing ever created by man, 200 times stronger than steel in fact. Since it's so strong it could have uses such as creating the fist space elevator, or ultra strong communication cables spanning continents on the ocean floor.
Other potential uses
- processors and transistors that run faster with less interference
- more efficient batteries
- stronger and lighter plastics
- flexible touch screens
- stronger and smaller medical implants
- materials with improved conductivity
- faster DNA sequencing
- ability to release drugs in humans at the nano-level
- dramatically increased efficiency in solar cells and solar power technology