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One-atom-thick materials promise a 'new industrial revolution'
University of Manchester ^ | 7/18/05

Posted on 07/24/2005 10:53:00 PM PDT by LibWhacker

Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a new class of materials which have previously only existed in science fiction films and books.

A team of British and Russian scientists led by Professor Geim have discovered a whole family of previously unknown materials, which are one atom thick and exhibit properties which scientists had never thought possible.

Not only are they ultra-thin, but depending on circumstances they can also be ultra-strong, highly-insulating or highly-conductive, offering a wide range of unique properties for space-age engineers and designers to choose from.

Professor Andre Geim said: "This discovery opens up practically infinite possibilities for applications which people have never even thought of yet. These materials are lightweight, strong and flexible, and there is a huge choice of them. This is not only about smart gadgets. Like polymers whose pervasiveness changed our everyday life forever, one-atom-thick materials could be used in a myriad of routine applications from clothing to computers."

The materials have been created by extracting individual atomic planes from conventional bulk crystals by using a technique called 'micromechanical cleavage'. Depending on a parent crystal, their one-atom-thick counterparts can be metals, semiconductors, insulators, magnets, etc. Previously, it was thought that such thin materials could not exist in principle, but the research team have, for the first time, demonstrated that they are not only possible but fairly easy to make.

They found that the atomically thin sheets they extracted were not only stable under ambient conditions but also exhibited extremely high crystal quality, which is what gives them their unique properties.

Dr Kostya Novoselov, a key investigator in this research, added: "Probably the most important part is that our discovery is not limited to just one or two new materials. It is a whole class of new materials, thousands of them. And they have a variety of properties, allowing one to choose a material most appropriate for a particular application.

"Although some of the applications are probably decades away, I expect to see ultra-fast transistors, micromechanical devices and nano-sensors based on the discovered one-atom-thick crystals already in a few years time."

The findings are published today (18 July, 2005) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is entitled: 'Two Dimensional Atomic Crystals'. In conclusion it reads: "We have now demonstrated the existence of 2D atomic crystals and believe that, once investigated and understood, it will be possible for them to be grown in large sizes required for industrial applications."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: atom; atomicplanes; cleavage; crystal; industrial; materials; micromechanical; nanotech; nanotechnology; oneatom; oneatomthick; revolution; thick

1 posted on 07/24/2005 10:53:01 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

Cool.


2 posted on 07/24/2005 10:55:12 PM PDT by denydenydeny ("Liberty is not a suicide pact."--Fouad Ajami)
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To: LibWhacker
'micromechanical cleavage'

Photos please!

3 posted on 07/24/2005 10:57:24 PM PDT by TheOtherOne (I often sacrifice my spelling on the alter of speed™)
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To: Allegra; TheMom; Xenalyte; sfimom

Finally! A material for blouses that can maybe, possibly be tucked into our tight jeans! ping


4 posted on 07/24/2005 10:58:49 PM PDT by pax_et_bonum
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To: TheOtherOne

Here ya go! :^)

5 posted on 07/24/2005 11:05:08 PM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (Carnac: A siren, a baby and a liberal. Answer: Name three things that whine.)
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To: pax_et_bonum
A material for blouses that can maybe, possibly be tucked into our tight jeans! ping

Wonder if it'll be washable or "Dry Clean Only" (which I avoid like the plague..LOL)?

6 posted on 07/24/2005 11:05:40 PM PDT by Allegra (Less Than 30 Days Until R&R - W'HOOOO!)
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To: LibWhacker
Not only are they ultra-thin

Sheesh, who writes this stuff?

7 posted on 07/24/2005 11:05:43 PM PDT by lafroste (gravity is not a force. See my profile to read my novel absolutely free (I know, beyond shameless))
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To: LibWhacker

"Molly wire" comes to mind.

Evil thoughts there...


8 posted on 07/24/2005 11:07:56 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: LibWhacker

Also, blades with edges that are a single atom thick.

"Armor? What armor?"


9 posted on 07/24/2005 11:09:08 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Ping!


10 posted on 07/24/2005 11:14:17 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: KevinDavis

high techno..ping


11 posted on 07/24/2005 11:38:25 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: LibWhacker
"We have now demonstrated the existence of 2D atomic crystals and believe that, once investigated and understood, it will be possible for them to be grown in large sizes required for industrial applications."

Quick! Let'ss offshore the R&D to India and the manufacturing to China before it's too late.

12 posted on 07/24/2005 11:40:01 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Euro-American Scum

Sounds like some of the stuff they found at Roswell, NM, back in the 1940s.


13 posted on 07/25/2005 12:11:18 AM PDT by ReadyNow
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To: LibWhacker

Cool. Before they market products I hope they figure out a way to give the products blunt edges though. Otherwise, there will be some very serious paper cut type injuries. ;)

Sounds like "material science software developer" is the career op of the future.


14 posted on 07/25/2005 12:14:11 AM PDT by unlearner
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To: grey_whiskers

Very interesting, though the article is a bit thin on details... (ahem)


15 posted on 07/25/2005 1:22:27 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: LibWhacker

Electrons moving in such low dimensional materials will exhibit fractional quantum statistics - they stop acting like fermions and start behaving more like bosons (i.e. they can superconduct).

High Tc superconductors exhibit the same low-dimensionality, though they achieve this by being Jahn-Teller distort lattices, not by being 2 nm thick.


16 posted on 07/25/2005 2:47:15 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: agere_contra

Say what?? ;-)


17 posted on 07/25/2005 3:08:34 AM PDT by Allegra (Less Than 30 Days Until R&R - W'HOOOO!)
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To: denydenydeny
Cool is hardly the word!
"one-atom-thick materials could be used in a myriad of routine applications from clothing to computers."
This could put the makers of those airline screeing machines, that show you naked, out of business!

Not to mention making every day a day at the beach!

(The down-side is that it could make the computer hard to find.)

18 posted on 07/25/2005 4:33:49 AM PDT by Savage Beast (Love is the ultimate aphrodesiac!)
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To: agere_contra
High Tc superconductors exhibit the same low-dimensionality, though they achieve this by being Jahn-Teller distort lattices, not by being 2 nm thick.

I have a doggie.

19 posted on 07/25/2005 4:42:40 AM PDT by SlowBoat407 (A living affront to Islam since 1959)
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To: LibWhacker
Some companies are already working on this. Some cling wrap is nearly one atom thin.
;)



20 posted on 07/25/2005 4:49:16 AM PDT by bwteim
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