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Graphene may seem like a modern wonder-material, but it's been with us for ages in the form of graphite. Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms bonded to each other, just one atom thick; graphite is just an agglomeration of these sheets layered on top of each other. To study graphene, however, it took someone clever to devise a way of peeling single layers off from this agglomeration (the secret turned out to be a piece of tape).

Since then, we've identified a handful of additional chemicals that form sheets that are a few atoms thick. These have a variety of properties—some are semiconductors and have been combined with graphene to make electronic devices. To expand the range of device we can craft that build on the advantages of these atomically thin materials, a larger catalog of chemicals like this would be handy.

Now, a Lithuanian-Swiss team says it's done just that. The team has found materials just like graphite: a bulk material with atomically thin layers hidden inside.

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Category: Science