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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs