Sangeetha Pulapaka

5 years ago, Manchester University scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the Nobel prize for extracting graphene. They did this using nothing more complicated than sticky tape and a lump of graphite - exactly as you get in your pencil. What they found was certainly a suprise. Graphene is 300 times stronger than steel; so thin you can see through it, and if you covered an entire football field with it, it would still weigh less than a gram. But what actually is this remarkable material, and why is it so special?

Carbon naturally occurs in graphite. In graphite the atoms are arranged in a 2D hexagonal honey comb lattice (layer). Each layer is held to each other by weaker forces or van de Waals bonds. These weaker forces can be broken to yeild a single layer which has the thickness of only one carbon atom and if you are wondering even this is in the shape of a honey comb structure. This single layer is known as Graphene. It is this unique structure which makes graphene the thinnest, lightest and strongest material known to man. It is  transparent, flexible and conducts heat and electricity. It is known as the wonder material.