Graphene, the first of the new class of materials called two-dimensional crystals, attracted huge attention not only in the scientific community but also in popular media. Called by some a miracle material, it is, among others, the thinnest and strongest material we know and conducts electricity better than copper. The two scientists who discovered it in 2004 received Nobel prizes six years later, UK Government in 2011 invested £50m to support the science of graphene, and in 2013 the European Union decided to commit €1 billion within the next 10 years to research into two-dimensional crystals.
So what is all that buzz about? What is graphene and why is it so special? Should we expect graphene gadgets in our houses soon?
In this talk, I will discuss the history of graphene and present some of the highlights of graphene research, with the hope of demystifying this “wonder material”. The talk will take the audience from a piece of scotch tape, through the measurement of the quantum of resistance and observation of one of the first fractals predicted in quantum physics, to atomic-scale Lego blocks – all that courtesy of atomically-thin honeycomb of carbon.