Graphene is a 2-dimensional material — the first 2-D material ever handled by a human being! Graphene is made of carbon atoms, nothing more. It’s a 1-atom-thick layer of pencil lead, to be exact.
Graphene would look something like this if you had the eyes of a microscope:
photo © 2010 AlexanderAlUS
The fat dots are carbon atoms. The lines are the bonds between them. The secret to graphene’s magnificence is in the bonds. The bonds that form between this honeycomb array of carbon atoms are stronger and tighter than any other known in science.
Some in the science community call graphene a miracle material due to its highly unusual and manifold properties. Graphene can do things no other material can do at all and/or as well. The list of these things is impressive and grows longer as graphene research continues.
A short list of the impressive things graphene can do:
- Graphene the strongest, lightest material on Earth:
6 times lighter than steel and 200 times stronger!
- Graphene is invisible: Graphene absorbs only 2.3% of the light that falls on it.
- Graphene is impermeable: Graphene is the most impermeable material Earth scientists have yet discovered.
- Graphene makes energy from light: And not just ordinary sunlight, but light of almost any wavelength.
- Graphene is elastic: Graphene can stretch as much as 20% of its length and bend every which way without breaking.
- Graphene nano-ness: “nano” means 1 billionth. Nanotechnology works with matter at the atomic and molecular scale. A graphene nanotube, for example, is extremely narrow in diameter: something like 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
- Graphene conducts electricity: Faster and more efficiently than any other substance on Earth.
- Graphene is anti-bacterial: Graphene kills bacteria, even the deadly E. coli.
Learn more about graphene