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January 10, 2008

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Carbon Nanosheets Promise Super-Fast Chips

From New Scientist

Atom-thick sheets of a carbon compound called graphene should smash the record for room-temperature conductivity, say UK researchers.

The fact that the near-2D layers let electrons travel so freely means the sheets could allow a new generation of super-fast microelectronics, they say. Prototype devices like transistors have already been made from graphene, but its basic properties are still being explored.

Graphene is the name given to a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagon pattern. Stacks of such sheets make the pencil-core ingredient graphite, but until recently it had been extremely difficult to isolate single layers. The new research was carried out by scientists at the University of Manchester - where graphene was first isolated in 2004 - and colleagues from Russia, the Netherlands, and the US.

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