It would take an elephant balanced on the tip of a pencil to break through a sheet of graphene with the thickness of a sheet of cling film. That's the description those promoting this new wonder material like to use to illustrate its strength. The atomic material was first isolated by two scientists at Manchester University in 2004. Now you might ask yourself, just how does one discover such a material? Well a pencil and some sticky tape apparently.
Graphene – the perfect atomic lattice A thin flake of ordinary carbon, just one atom thick, lies behind this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov have shown that carbon in such a flat form has exceptional properties that originate from the remarkable world of quantum physics. Graphene is a form of carbon. As a material it is completely new – not only the thinnest ever but also the strongest. As a conductor of electricity it performs as well as copper. As a conductor of heat it outperforms all other known materials. It is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that not even helium, the smallest gas atom, can pass through it. Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again