Mikhail Vagin, principal research engineer at the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University said, “Graphene is fascinating, but extremely difficult to study.”
The thinnest material ever produced, graphene, consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. They form a chicken-wire structure one atom thick, with unique properties. It is around 200 times stronger than steel, and highly flexible. It is transparent, but gases and liquids cannot pass through it. In addition, it is an excellent conductor of electricity. There are many ideas about how this nanomaterial can be used, and research into future applications is intense.
One of the factors contributing to the difficulty in understanding the properties of graphene is that it is what is known as an “anisotropic” material. This means that its properties when measured on the plane surface of the carbon atom layer differ from those measured at the edges. Furthermore, attempts to understand the behavior of graphene at the atomic level are complicated by the fact that it can be produced in several ways. The properties of graphene in small flakes, which have many edges, differ in several ways from those of graphene produced as sheets with an area around 1 square centimeter.
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