Monday, January 4, 2010

Graphene is a Runner-Up in Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year

"Graphene takes off" Science magazine says in the last issue of 2009. "Since 2004, when researchers in the United Kingdom discovered a simple way to peel the single-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms off chunks of graphite, researchers have scrambled to study this ultimate membrane." That UK researchers would be Andre K. Geim and his coworkers (aka "the duct tape gang").

This was only the beginning.
November of 2009 saw that two "separate research groups in New York and New Jersey confirmed that graphene's electrons exhibit the fractional quantum Hall effect, in which electrons act collectively as if they are particles with only a fraction of the charge of an electron." All agree that these physicsy fundamental observations turn to device designs soon.

In May of 2009, "researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, reported that they had made graphene films up to a centimeter square by growing them atop thin copper foils." This would solve the scalability problem of these carbon nanothings. Then "a team at Cornell University modified their technique to grow graphene on silicon wafers."

Not long ago, the graphene transistor was attempted at IBM: "Researchers at IBM reported building graphene transistors that can switch on and off 26 billion times per second, far outpacing conventional silicon devices." This needed an interface technology: "a graphene frequency multiplier for electronic signals, which could lead to new applications in communication and sensing" was made by the folks at MIT.

Graphene keeps dazzling many.
I smell a nobel prize soon.

Here are the links for the curious amongst you:

Xuesong Li et al., "Large-Area Synthesis of High-Quality and Uniform Graphene Films on Copper Foils," Science 324, 1312-1314 (2009)
R. F. Service, "Carbon Sheets an Atom Thick Give Rise to Graphene Dreams," Science 324, 875-877 (2009)
A. K. Geim, "Graphene: Status and Prospects, " Science 324, 1530-1534 (2009)
X. Du et al., "Fractional Quantum Hall Effect and Insulating Phase of Dirac Electrons in Graphene," Nature 462, 192-195 (2009)
K. I. Bolotin et al., "Observation of the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect in Graphene," Nature 462, 196-199 (2009)
Y.-M. Lin et al., "Operation of Graphene Transistors at Gigahertz Frequencies," Nano Letters 9, 422-426 (2009)
Picture from: Nature Asia

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