Fullerene: another form of carbon


Andre Geim and Konstantin Nosoelov, Russian-born physicists, won the Nobel Prize in physics for a discovery that they made using scotch tape and pencils. By pulling off thin flakes of the graphite that makes up the lead in most standard pencils with the scotch tape, the physicists were able to extract graphene. Graphene is a form of carbon that is only one atom thick, and arranged in a hexagonal lattice.

Carbon naturally occurs in many different forms, including diamond, coal, graphite, and graphene. Graphene is able to conduct heat better than any other known material, and it can conduct electricity as well as copper. Eventually, it could be used to create more efficient and smaller computers, replacing silicon. Graphene is also the strongest and hardest known material in the world. The simplicity of the method for deriving graphene, and the abundance of materials make it possible for anyone to research in this field.