You may have heard of graphene, a sheet of pure carbon, one atom thick, that’s all the rage in materials-science circles, and getting plenty of media hype as well. Reports have trumpeted graphene as an ultra-thin, super-strong, super-conductive, super-flexible material. You could be excused for thinking it might even save all of humanity from certain doom.

Not exactly. In the current world of nano-electronics, there is a lot more going on than just graphene. One of the materials I work with, molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), is a one-layer material with interesting properties beyond those of graphene. MoS2 can absorb five times as much visible light as graphene, making it useful in light detectors and solar cells. In addition, even newer materials like borophene (a one-layer material made of boron atoms projected to be mechanically stronger than graphene) are being proposed and synthesized every day.

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