Graphene: The Next Big Thing

Posted on December 19, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

In a comprehensive overview of the discovery of graphene, a material derived from graphite, The New Yorker’s John Colapinto details how this newly understood substance may transform computers, cell phones, and cancer treatments. University of Manchester physics professor and graphene discoverer, Andre Geim is working with fellow scientists to transform graphene into an applicable material that has the potential to improve many of today’s cutting-edge technologies.

As this discovery phase is underway, scientists are learning about this materials’ diverse properties that could prove revolutionary in shaping tomorrow’s technology.

“Graphene may be the most remarkable substance ever discovered… Because of its unique structure, electrons could flow across the lattice unimpeded by other layers, moving with extraordinary speed and freedom. It can carry a thousand times more electricity than copper….Although it was the thinnest material in the known universe, it [graphene] was a hundred and fifty times stronger than an equivalent weight of steel—indeed, the strongest material ever measured. It was as pliable as rubber and could stretch to a hundred and twenty per cent of its length.”

However, as noted by Colapinto, a challenge that scientists face is producing graphene in a cost-effective way at a large scale. By opening up access to domestic minerals like graphite, scientists will be able to more easily access and further experiment on this material. A common sense permitting process would give the United States an opportunity to pursue these materials and pave the way in developing the technologies of tomorrow here at home.

Learn more about graphene’s discovery here.

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