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article imageWill Graphene live up to its hype?

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 29, 2012 in Technology
Graphene, the so called "super material", has been in the UK news this week. British Chancellor George Osborne announced government funding into further Graphene research
Research into developing Graphene and enabling its use in everyday items is costly. Various universities and research establishments have been involved in the development of graphene. Now Chancellor George Osborne, of the UK Coalition government, has announced a funding boost. According to the BBC a £21.5mil investment fund is to be set aside for Graphene researchers. The money will be divided between different places of research.
Graphene was discovered in 2004 by two scientists at Manchester University. According to the university websiteTwo scientists who discovered graphene at The University of Manchester have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov have been awarded the highest accolade in the scientific world for their pioneering work with the world’s thinnest material, graphene, discovered at the University in 2004. It has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics.
The problem now will be putting this "wonder" material to good use. Doing so appears to be taking time and of course money. The British government obviously thinks that Graphene has potential, hence the investment. So what is graphene?
According to Wikipedia Graphene is a substance made of pure carbon, with atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern similar to graphite, but in a one-atom thick sheet. It is very light, with a 1 square meter sheet weighing only 0.77 milligrams.
A large chunk of the government funding will go to Cambridge University. The research there looks set to utilise graphene for flexible yet tough electronics and visual displays. Others will research aerospace possibilities.
Currently the UK is experiencing tough economic times. It seems however that there was never any question about this funding. Failing to stump up the cash could have easily led to further research into the possible uses of Graphene going abroad. In order to prevent this the investment was quickly agreed.
The technical specification of Graphene may be way over most ordinary people's heads but it is easy to see why developing a super material could prove a great investment.
More about graphene super material, Graphene, british government investment in graphene
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