Graphene: Nanotechnology crowd is agog’s Josh Wolfe interviews Andre Geim, a prominent graphene researcher, about the latest nanotechnology buzzword and buzzmaterial — a free-standing, two-dimensional crystal of carbon in a hexagonal lattice. Of course, it’s not truly two-dimensional — it’s one atom thick, not zero atoms thick — but close enough:

In the scientific community, the area of graphene has been generating the type of buzz more akin to the newest Steven Spielberg summer blockbuster than a new class of two-dimensional materials…

In order to make graphene operational as a good transistor, it has to be about 10nm in size. One angstrom thick, but you need to confine it laterally to say 10nm in size. Then it starts working as a good transistor. Silica runs smoothly to about 15nm and graphene can’t compete at those sizes.

After silicon hits the wall and you need less than 15nm at these sizes, graphene transistors become nicely operational. Graphene, unlike other materials we know, remains very stable and highly conductive when it is confined to sizes less than 10nm.

Stable under 10 nanometers: sounds useful for productive nanosystems and atomically-precise manufacturing, as well as computation. —Christine

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