News FocusMaterials Science

Relativistic Physics in the Lab

Science  15 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5929, pp. 876
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_876

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Summary

Graphene holds enormous promise for transistors and other electronic devices (see main text). But it is already making an impact in the arcane world of high-energy physics. That's because when electrons move through graphene, they act as if their mass is zero—behavior that makes them look more like neutrinos streaking through space near the speed of light. At such "relativistic" speeds, particles don't follow the usual rules of quantum mechanics. So physicists realized several years ago that the novel material might provide a test bed for studying relativistic physics in the lab.