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Carbon Sheets an Atom Thick Give Rise to Graphene Dreams

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Science  15 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5929, pp. 875-877
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_875

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Interest in graphene, a novel material with amazing properties, continues to sweep through physics and chemistry labs worldwide. Graphene's carbon atoms are arranged in a chicken-wire pattern of hexagons, giving graphene a perfect crystalline order that makes it the strongest material ever made when yanked along the sheets, yet it flexes like plastic wrap. It's also an outstanding heat conductor. Electrons whiz through the sheets at rates far beyond those achieved in other materials. All these properties have made graphene a playground for researchers including theoretical and high-energy physicists, chemists, and computer-chip-device makers looking to lend graphene's exceptional properties to tomorrow's ultrasmall gadgetry.