Two Russian physicists awarded Nobel prize for work on Ultra-Thin Material

October 5, 2010

(ChattaBox Science News) Two physicists, Konstantin Novoselov (36) and Andre Geim (51), working at the University of Manchester in England, have been awarded the Nobel prize for their work in physics, stated the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday. For their innovative hard work regarding studies of graphene (very thin carbon flakes), the Russian physicists will share the $1.4 million, prize.  Novoselov is the youngest Nobel laureate since 1973.

Graphene is known to be not only the thinnest material in the world, but stretchy and still one of the strongest.  Geim and Novoselov as PhD supervisor and student in the Netherlands before moving to Manchester University,  in a deceptively simple but clever experiment in 2004 used Scotch tape to strip off layers of carbon that were only one atom thick. These thin wafers of carbon, known as graphene, were found to have extraordinary properties.

A sheet of graphene, stretched over a tea cup for example, would be able to have the entire weight of a truck supported, bearing on a pencil point. Other properties of the material are that it can conduct heat and electricity better than any other materials in the world. On top of that, it is completely transparent. Physicists estimate that in the future, it will be used in computer chips, flat screen TV sets, as a pollution monitoring material and also it will be the basis for creating other materials.

In this regard, the Royal Academy told, “Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again.”

Source: NY Times


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