I’m talking about a material called Graphene, no not Graphite like in your pencils, though graphene is technically taken from graphite. Let me give you a little history in this relatively new material. At the University of Manchester in England there were two physicists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. All they did was simply take a roll of sticky tape, and put it over a slab of graphite. Then they kept repeating this process while making the sample left on tape thinner with each try until they came up with a one atom thick material which is now known as graphene. Grim and Novoselov received the Nobel Prize for physics in 2004 for this simple experiment.
So now you’re probably wondering, what’s so special about what’s so special about graphene? Well for starters it’s only one atom thick, making it the only two dimensional thing known to mankind, obviously making it the thinnest material in the world as well, about one million times thinner then a single piece of hair. It conducts electricity better then silver, conducts heat better then diamond, and is 200 times harder then steel yet it is flexible and stretchable.
Now, how can we use it? It can be used to replace micro chips which is primarily made of silicon. Graphene can conduct electricity at 1000GHz which is ten times more then silicon can handle. And since it is an excellent conductor of electricity it can also be used with touch screen technology. Imagine having your cell phone screen if it were 200 hundred times harder then steel, no more cracked screens! And for the future scientists believe that it can significantly improve water purification technology that can provide clean drinking water for million.
The only problem with graphene is that is extremely difficult to obtain. Peeling sticky tape over and over again isn’t really ideal from a mass production standpoint making it somewhat expensive. Market price is about 100 dollars for five grams of graphene. We can obtain it by by heating up hydrocarbons such as methane till the hydrogen separates leaving only the carbon behind but then the graphene you would get from that is low quality and not useful.