Two University of Manchester scientists were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for their pioneering research on graphene, a one-atom-thick film of carbon whose strength, flexibility and electrical conductivity have opened up new horizons for pure physics research as well as high-tech applications.
Graphene is one of the strongest, lightest and most conductive materials known to humankind. It’s also 97.3 percent transparent, but looks really cool under powerful microscopes. See our gallery of graphene images.
It’s a worthy Nobel, for the simple reason that graphene may be one of the most promising and versatile materials ever discovered. It could hold the key to everything from supersmall computers to high-capacity batteries.
Graphene’s properties are attractive to materials scientists and electrical engineers for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it might be possible to build circuits that are smaller and faster than what you can build in silicon.