Beyond graphene

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Science  01 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6234, pp. 490-492
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6234.490

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In 2013, researchers around the globe published more than 15000 papers on single-layer graphite, called graphene, a number that has grown exponentially since the material was invented 11 years ago. And for good reason: Graphene is the thinnest material ever made. It's 100 times stronger than steel, a better electrical and heat conductor than copper, flexible, and largely transparent. Investigators envision a future for it in everything from the next generation of computer chips and flexible displays to batteries and fuel cells. But graphene has drawbacks, especially its inability to act as a semiconductor. Now, chemists and materials scientists are striving to move beyond graphene. They're synthesizing other two-dimensional sheetlike materials that promise to combine flexibility and transparency with electronic properties graphene can't match. And they are already turning some of them into thin, flexible, speedy electronic and optical devices that they hope will form the backbone of industries of the future.

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