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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

2 Responses to “One-atom thick carbon gauze via nanotechnology”

  1. Stuart Says:

    Unless the graphene sheet has defects in it, it is certainly not a ‘gauze’ or a ‘membrane’ as suggested in the Times piece – maybe you could make structures from graphene sheets with which you could sieve gases, but no atomic or molecular species can pass THROUGH a graphene sheet – to suggest otherwise is just nonsense. All of the publicity surrounding graphene makes it sound like a new discovery – and it certainly isn’t…

  2. joe jackson Says:

    This is a good example of nanotech researchers making a potential weapon.Obviously
    the membranes could float in the atmosphere or surface water ,cloud battlefields,and be a respiratory and primordial immunity hazard to virtually every living organism.
    When will nanotech be regulated by a worldwide agreement for what it really is, molecular contamination, chunks of nuclear fallout contain similar odd structural forms,in 2.5 billion years of organic evolution-” if it had value, a living organism would have made it by now and not just to sell on the stock market?” JJ

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