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It’s easier to fold a napkin than a notepad. The potential to manipulate graphite into precise nanostructures using a scanning probe microscope has teased researchers ever since Thomas W. Ebbesen and Hidefumi Hiura first reported accidental tears and folds in their graphite during scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) experiments in the mid-1990s. However, although ensuing studies by various research groups around the world were also able to demonstrate similar origami-like folding of graphite with a scanning probe, they could not command where or how the folds would occur. Now, by replacing the graphite with high-quality graphene nanoislands, researchers in China and the US have finally leveraged the atomic-level control of STM into an origami nanofabrication tool with a comparable level of precision.

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Category: Science