Take a piece of adhesive tape and apply it to the “lead” of a pencil. Pull the tape away, and it may still have some thin flakes of graphite attached. Fold the tape in half and unfold it, to split the flakes. Do this 10 or 20 times and, if your technique is good, then congratulations—you’ve just made the thinnest known material, and almost the strongest.
The tape trick is literally how Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov managed to first isolate graphene—an atom-thick and therefore two-dimensional layer of carbon—at the U.K.’s University of Manchester in 2004. Six years later, the physicists won the Nobel Prize for their efforts, and for good reason.
Graphene’s properties are extraordinary, as shown in emerging products that incorporate the material: better-sounding headphones, cooler smartphones, tougher roads, and more environmentally friendly shampoo packaging. Read more…..
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Professor Richard Jones, Chair of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy at The University of Manchester, explains the imbalances that lie behind the often-used phrase ‘levelling up’ and how the ‘missing £4bn’ could be used to drive innovation, research and development and advanced manufacturing in Greater Manchester and the wider UK.