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2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for Graphene

15 October 2010

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2010 to Andre Geim, University of Manchester, UK and Konstantin Novoselov, University of Manchester, UK ""for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene""

Graphene the perfect atomic lattice

A thin flake of ordinary carbon, just one atom thick, lies behind this years 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.

When mixed into plastics, graphene can turn them into conductors of electricity while making them more heat resistant and mechanically robust. This resilience can be utilised in new super strong materials, which are also thin, elastic and lightweight. In the future, satellites, airplanes, and cars could be manufactured out of the new composite materials.

Geim and Novoselov extracted the graphene from a piece of graphite such as is found in ordinary pencils. Using regular adhesive tape they managed to obtain a flake of carbon with a thickness of just one atom. This at a time when many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable.

This years Laureates have been working together for a long time now. Konstantin Novoselov, 36, first worked with Andre Geim, 51, as a PhD-student in the Netherlands. He subsequently followed Geim to the United Kingdom. Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia. Now they are both professors at the University of Manchester.