Wonder metal that behaves like water

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) In a first, researchers from Harvard University and research centre Raytheon BBN Technology have observed electrons in Graphene that behave like a fluid.

Since its discovery a decade ago, scientists have hailed graphene as the wonder material that could replace silicon in electronics, increase the efficiency of batteries, the durability and conductivity of touch screens and pave the way for cheap thermal electric energy, among several other things.

It’s one atom thick, stronger than steel, harder than diamond and one of the most conductive materials on earth.

In order to make the new observation, the team improved methods to create ultra-clean graphene and developed a new way to measure its thermal conductivity.

This research, led by Philip Kim, professor of physics and applied physics, can lead to novel thermo-electric devices as well as provide a model system to explore phenomena like black holes and high-energy plasmas.

The team created an ultra-clean sample by sandwiching the one-atom thick graphene sheet between tens of layers of an electrically insulating perfect transparent crystal with a similar atomic structure as graphene.

“If you have a material that’s one atom thick, it’s going to be really affected by its environment,” said Jesse Crossno, graduate student in the Kim Lab, in the paper published in the journal Science.

Moving forward, a small chip of graphene could be used to model the fluid-like behaviour of other high-energy systems.

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