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Graphene is a two-dimensional (2D) carbon material that displays a unique mix of properties: not only does it have the highest electrical and thermal conductivity among all materials known so far, but it also has been shown to be the thinnest, stiffest and strongest material, as well as being impermeable to all standard gases.

One physical property that so far has been missing from this impressive list is magnetism. In its pristine state, graphene exhibits no signs of the conventional magnetism usually associated with such materials as iron or nickel. In previous reports, scientists already observed paramagnetism in graphene samples exfoliated from graphite crystals with a high density of edges and defects (see for instance: "Graphene reveals its magnetic personality") and ferromagnetism has been observed when organic molecules were deposited on a graphene-ruthenium substrate (see: "New magnetic graphene may revolutionize electronics").

Thus far, though, no reports that provide comprehensive evidence for either macro- or nanoscale magnetic phenomena for the ferromagnetism of carbon nanostructures in chemically functionalized graphene structures have appeared in the literature.

Researchers have now filled this gap. The multi-disciplinary team, including Dr. Jeongmin Hong at UC Berkeley, Professor Sakhrat Khizroev’s group at Florida International University (FIU), Professor Robert Haddon at UC Riverside, and Professor Walt de Heer at Georgia Institute of Technology teamed up to demonstrate, for the first time, the presence of magnetic properties in graphene nanostructures at room temperature.

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