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New insight about graphene

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Graphene is a material comprised of a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. It's as strong as steel, but softer than Saran Wrap and its high current-carrying capacity and thermal conductivity make this "wonder material" ideally suited to possibly replace silicon in the microchip industry.

Lau:               For graphene to really replace silicon, I think that's probably in 10 to 15 years time.

Narrator:       Physicist Jeanie Lau of the University of California, Riverside, is studying graphene in the lab to get a better understanding of its properties.

Lau:               One thing we kind of focus on is how to control the electrical property by controlling the shape. This is because graphene, being an elastic membrane, you can make it bend very, very easily. You can make it into a really good conductor or insulator by simply changing the local shape of graphene.

Narrator:       In fact, Lau recently discovered by accident that stacking up three layers of graphene like pancakes significantly modified the material's electrical properties. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.