Graphene and the Nobel Prize

Boy, what a trip it was to see what the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to this year — the “discovery” of graphene!  The name of single-layer graphite is pretty inaccurate in of itself, but it’s becoming an accepted term in the physical sciences.  It’s interesting that these scientists were praised so soon — the potential of graphene is only just now beginning to be realized, whether it is a substitute for silicon surfaces to mount printed (or self-assembled!) circuitry on or an alternative super-tough material to manufacture carbon nanotubes.  Practically, graphene has gone nowhere.

Academically, it’s still a gold mine.  My research is revolving around using graphene as a substrate and it’s absolutely critical that all research in this area piggy-back in order to help grahpene reach its potential quickly.  This is definitely a lower-cost alternative to the forging of tough metals.  With so much chemistry and energy potential going into the creation of carbon-carbon bonds, it’s really neat to see that a sheet of graphene can be derived relatively easy.  Computationally, it’s much, much simpler to simulate a carbon surface than nearly everything else, so it’s also a huge chance to refine our strategies in determining choice compounds (including peptides and other organic matter) to interact with graphene.

Here’s a link to the Nobel Prize site and some background information on graphene.

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