Applied Physics

A Supporting Role for Graphene

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 563
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6004.563-b

Over the past 6 years, graphene has gone on from its discovery, isolation, and characterization to become the material du jour. A freestanding sheet of carbon atoms just one atom thick, peeled from a block of graphite with scotch tape, the material displays a wealth of exotic electronic, optical, and mechanical properties, all of which are being studied fundamentally and developed for applications as well. Nair et al. now show that graphene can also be used as a support for high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. Such microscopes accelerate electrons to very high energy. These electrons can be absorbed or scattered by the usual thin carbon supports, creating a large background signal that diminishes the contrast and can obscure the object under study when homing in on the smallest of molecules or features. As demonstrated with individual tobacco mosaic virus specimens without the need for staining, the mechanical strength and transparency of graphene lend themselves very well in support of high-resolution imaging applications.

Appl. Phys. Lett. 97, 153102 (2010).

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