One-atom thick carbon gauze via nanotechnology

The ever-vigilant brings us news of a one-atom thick freestanding (i.e., unattached) graphene carbon film:

Physicists pioneer new super-thin technology

Physicists at The University of Manchester and The Max-Planck Institute in Germany have created a new kind of a membrane that is only one atom thick.

It’s believed this super-small structure can be used to sieve gases, make ultra-fast electronic switches and image individual molecules with unprecedented accuracy…

These one-atom-thick materials and in particular graphene – a gauze of carbon atoms resembling chicken wire – have rapidly become one of the hottest topics in physics.

However, it has remained doubtful whether such materials can exist in the free state, without being placed on top of other materials.

Now an international research team, led by Dr Jannik Meyer of The Max-Planck Institute in Germany and Professor Andre Geim of The University of Manchester has managed to make free-hanging graphene.

See also the abstract in Nature. This is cool enough that The Times (UK) has coverage also, by Lewis Smith:

Scientists have created the thinnest material in the world and predict that it will revolutionise computing and medical research…

Such a feat was held to be impossible by theorists, backed up by experimentation, because it is in effect a two-dimensional crystal that is supposed to be destroyed instantly by heat.

In fact, it is so cool that one of the researchers wants a new name for it:

“This is a completely new type of technology — even nanotechnology is not the right word to describe these new membranes,” said Professor Andre Geim, of the University of Manchester.

Oh, sure it is. (Credit: Billy Harvey and Ben Zealley) —Christine

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