PerspectivePhysics

Another Spin on Graphene

Science  15 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6027, pp. 315-316
DOI: 10.1126/science.1204496

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Summary

Graphene, the one-atom-thick face of carbon (1), startled the condensed matter community from the get-go. It exhibits a large number of new and exotic optical and electronic effects that have not been observed in other materials (2, 3). Most of these effects arise because of two important properties of graphene—the strength of the bonds that keep the carbon atoms together and the peculiar electronic structure of the honeycomb lattice. The electronic excitations in graphene are said to behave like Dirac particles, that is, their energy is proportional to their momentum (4). Furthermore, graphene is opening doors for an entirely new technology based on two-dimensional (2D) crystals. On page 328 of this issue Abanin et al. (5) report another completely unexpected effect that involves nonlocality and quantum mechanics at ambient conditions.