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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 16 (2011) pp 65-71

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics: Graphene—The Perfect Atomic Lattice

Jean-Pierre Adloff and George B. Kauffman*

Honorary Professor, Université Louis Pasteur, 63 Rue Saint Urbain, Strasbourg, France F-67100,; Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published: 25 February 2011

Abstract. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to Andre Geim, 51, and Konstantin Novoselov, 36, both of the University of Manchester, U.K., for “groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene,” which the academy characterized as “The perfect atomic lattice.” The properties of graphene promise an immense future in fundamental physics as well as a wide variety of practical applications in the creation of new materials and the manufacture of innovative electronics. As a conductor of electricity it is equivalent to copper, and as a conductor of heat, it outperforms all other known materials. It is almost completely transparent but so dense that even helium, the smallest gaseous atom, cannot pass through it. IBM researchers have already prepared graphene transistors that are much faster than today’s silicon transistors and that can result in more efficient computers. The work of the laureates and the controversy surrounding the award are discussed in this article.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; Nobel Prize; graphene; allotropes of carbon; atomic lattice; industrial research; academic research; electronics materials

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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