Text Excerpt from Article by Signe Brewster
Geim and his colleague Novoselov received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for their work. They published their findings in “Science” in October 2004 (get it here).
Geim and Novoselov’s paper was wildly interesting to other scientists because of its description of graphene’s strange physical properties. Electrons move through graphene incredibly fast and begin to exhibit behaviors as if they were massless, mimicking the physics that governs particles at super small scales.
“That kind of interaction inside a solid, so far as anyone knows, is unique to graphene,” wrote Geim and another famous graphene researcher, Philip Kim, in a 2008 Scientific American article. “Thanks to this novel material from a pencil, relativistic quantum mechanics is no longer confined to cosmology or high-energy physics; it has now entered the laboratory.”
Graphene’s special properties don’t stop with weird physics. It’s also:
Conductive: Electrons are the particles that make up electricity. So when graphene allows electrons to move quickly, it is allowing electricity to move quickly. It is known to move electrons 200 times faster than silicon because they travel with such little interruption. It is also an excellent heat conductor. Graphene is conductive independent of temperature and works normally at room temperature.
Strong: As mentioned earlier, it would take an elephant with excellent balance to break through a sheet of graphene. It is very strong due to its unbroken pattern and the strong bonds between the carbon atoms. Even when patches of graphene are stitched together, it remains the strongest material out there.
Flexible: Those strong bonds between graphene’s carbon atoms are also very flexible. They can be twisted, pulled and curved to a certain extent without breaking, which means graphene is bendable and stretchable.
Transparent: Graphene absorbs 2.3 percent of the visible light that hits it, which means you can see through it without having to deal with any glare.