Graphene, a nano-scale wonder material, is one of the hottest areas of materials science research. Discovered in 2004 by two Russian emigre scientists, Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester, graphene's revolutionary physical properties won the two scientists the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics.
At first graphene doesn't seem all that special. After all, the scientists who discovered it made it by applying sticky tape to graphite, which is found in pencil lead. Yet Steve Connor, the science editor of the UK's Independent newspaper, has dubbed graphene "the scientific find of the century."
Graphene is a two dimensional sheet of carbon just one atom thick. It's the strongest substance ever discovered -- 100 times stronger than steel by weight. However, graphene also has amazing electrical and optical properties that mean it could revolutionize the computer, telecommunications, and electronics industries. This article will explain how researchers are looking to graphene to potentially revolutionize energy storage technology and bring about a cleaner, greener tomorrow.
At UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute, Dr. Richard Kaner and his graduate student Maher El-Kady are working on graphene-based supercapacitors that promise to combine the energy density of traditional batteries with the ability to charge up to a thousand times faster. As an added bonus these supercapacitors could be made cheaply and without any environmentally harmful materials (they are biodegradable and can even be composted).
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