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Make your very own atom-thick graphene sheet with just a pencil and tape

Illustration for article titled Make your very own atom-thick graphene sheet with just a pencil and tape

Graphene is a special form of carbon that's a only single atom thick. One of the world's only two-dimensional objects, it won its designers the Nobel Prize. And you can make your very own sheet with a couple everyday objects.

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The secret of making graphene is explained by Dr. Jonathan Hare, a physicist turned television presenter. In the video below, he explains just what graphene is, explores a few of its more amazing properties, brings in some quantum weirdness, makes a light run on pencil shavings, and, yes, shows you how to make your own graphene sheet. It's a packed six minutes:

As you can see, making graphene doesn't require anything special - just a lot of time and energy. While you're busy folding and refolding your piece of tape, here's another video in which Hare gives a lot more background on what graphene is and why it's important:

[The Vega Science Trust]

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DISCUSSION

A few things to point out:

1) I am currently taking a nano-engineering course and it is my understanding that they used a special nano-pencil to achieve the single layer of atoms. Generic pencils still give off multi-layered graphite.

2) graphene is considered a 2-d material because electrons can travel through it in only two dimensions. this is also why carbon nanotubes are considered 1-d objects and quantum dots are considered 0-d objects.