News / Science & Technology

Graphene Discovery Wins Nobel Prize

Professor Andre Geim, left, and Dr. Konstantin Novoselov, who have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, pose for pictures outside Manchester University, Manchester, England, 05 Oct 2010
Professor Andre Geim, left, and Dr. Konstantin Novoselov, who have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, pose for pictures outside Manchester University, Manchester, England, 05 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio

Two Russian-born scientists have won the Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of a material that could affect computers, phones, security devices and medical research.  Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov's discovery of graphene earned them the 2010 Nobel Prize and their discovery could have wide-ranging uses.

It started with a simple experiment: take some graphite - the black stuff in the middle of a pencil - and put a piece of tape over it.  When the scientists at the University of Manchester did that, they found that they could develop a material that conducts electricity well, is extremely strong, and is thin enough to see through.  

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov's work focused on the properties of graphene and that led to Tuesday's announcement by Staffan Normark in Stockholm.

"The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly to Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov, both at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.  And the Academy citation runs 'for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene," he said.

This artist's rendition illustrates the electron energy levels in graphene as revealed by a unique NIST instrument
This artist's rendition illustrates the electron energy levels in graphene as revealed by a unique NIST instrument

Thinness is one of graphene's properties that make it so useful.  The material is only one atom thick, but is extremely strong for its size.  It also conducts electricity quickly at room temperature.  Phillip Schewe is with the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Maryland.  He told VOA that graphene's conductivity has implications for electronics and computers.

"Electrons, electricity move through graphene very quickly without losing much energy. And that's always a good thing, for an electronic product.  You want electrons to move very quickly because all of our computers and other electronic equipment like iPhones depend on electronic gizmos that work very quickly, are very compact and cheap.  And graphene looks as if it is going to fulfill all of those criteria," said Schewe.

Schewe says that graphene could also be used to make transistors in integrated circuits that could make computers cheaper and faster as well.

Graphene, a honeycomb-shaped molecule of carbon atoms, also is extremely strong for its size.  Phillip Schewe says its mechanical strength and light weight make the material useful to reinforce fabrics and building materials.

"It's transparent, so if you saw a little chip of it, it would look like Saran wrap [clear plastic wrap] only much smaller and thinner," he said. "But even a single sheet of it is very strong. And if you contrive tests to compare it to other strong materials, it turns out to be about 100 times stronger than steel.

Phaeton Avouris is an IBM fellow and monitor of nanotechnology at IBM.  He told VOA that graphene has implications for security and medical technology as well.

"We want to use graphene for high frequency transistors," said Avouris. "And these transistors can have applications for all kinds of communications.  Wireless communications from cell phones to Wi-Fi stations to radar and also to medical and security imaging, a variety of applications that we don't even know yet because we cannot generate the kind of frequencies that graphene can generate."

For their work, Geim and Novoselov earn $1.5 million and a gold medal.  Geim said Tuesday that he was shocked and surprised by the announcement but planned to go to work as usual.  The Nobel committee will also hand out awards for chemistry, literature, the peace prize and economics.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs