Physics Nobel Honors Work on Ultra-Thin Carbon

Russian-born physicists win Nobel Prize in Physics for investigating the remarkable properties of ultrathin carbon flakes known as graphene.

grapheneA pair of Russian-born physicists working at the University of Manchester in England have won the Nobel Prize in Physics for investigating the Remarkable properties of ultrathin carbon flakes known as graphene, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Tuesday.

The physicists are Andre Geim, 51, and Konstantin Novoselov, 36. They will split the prize of about $1.4 million.

Graphene is a form of carbon in which the atoms are arranged in a flat hexagon lattice like microscopic chicken wire, a single atom thick. It is not only the thinnest material in the world, but also one of the strongest and hardest.

Among its other properties, graphene is able to conduct electricity as well as copper does and to conduct heat better than any other known material, and it is practically transparent. Physicists say that it could eventually rival silicon as a basis for computer chips, serve as a sensitive pollution-monitoring material, improve flat-screen televisions, and enable the creation of new materials and novel tests of quantum weirdness.

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Source: Dennis Overbye | New York Times
Photo: University of Manchester