Graphene Reveals Fine Structure Constant
Graphene, at just one atom in thickness the world's thinnest material, reveals another amazing property. When light is shown through a large suspended membrane of graphine, most visible light passes right through it.
However, graphene is not clear; about 2.3 percent of visible light is absorbed. Dividing this number by pi gives the exact value of the fine structure constant, which is the fundamental physical constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. It is a dimensionless quantity - just about 1 / 137.
To put it another way, if the fine structure constant was changed just a few percent, and life would be impossible. Nuclear reactions in which carbon is generated from lighter elements in burning stars would be impossible. Without carbon, there would be no life.
(Graphene covers the small holes;
the light passing through is visible to the naked eye)
Apparently, the reason that dividing the percentage of visible light shining through divided by pi gives the fine structure constant is that the electrons in graphene behave as if they have lost their mass. This result has been verified by many researchers after the original creation of graphene by University of Manchester researchers. Read more about the discovery of graphene in an earlier article - Graphene - Nanofabric One Atom Thick.
Professor Andre Geim, of The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, remarks
“We were absolutely flabbergasted when realized that such a fundamental effect could be measured in such a simple way. One can have a glimpse of the very foundations of our universe just looking through graphene.”
Read more about the origins of graphene; see
Graphene gazing gives glimpse of foundations of universe and Refining the fine-structure constant.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/4/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion (Back On) ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Filabot Turns Dull Plastic Junk To 3D Printed Shiny
'Whenever Nell's clothes got too small for her, Harv would pitch them into the deke bin and then have the M.C. make new ones.'-Neal Stephenson, 1995.
Army Wants Black Blacker Than Black
'Well, we have a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...'- Doc Smith, 1940.
Military Fabric Like A Smart Second Skin
Now, your dress whites and your NBC suit can be the same outfit.
Outdoor Testing For Self-Healing Concrete
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'- J.G. Ballard, 1962.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
MIT Robot Cheetah Video Shows Gait Transition
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle
Not your typical 'smart bullet' approach.
'Hello, Computer!' Google Now Highlighted at IO13
Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go
'It rested among green parklands and... stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors.'
CARMAT Bioprosthetic Total Human Heart Replacement
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'
Personal Sniffer Robots
'...The ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound.'
Physical Exam? We've Got Apps
See the future of handheld, personal medical devices.
The Interplanetary Internet, Vint Cerf Speaking
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Drosophila Robotica, The Mechanical Fly
'... the Scarab [flying robot] buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might...'
Robo-Raven Flapping Wing Robot Bird
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Japan's Nursing Home Robot Plan
Let's make the Roujin Z-0001 Robotic Bed!
Samsung Smart TVs With Gesture Control
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Swiss HCPVT Giant Photovoltaic 'Flower'
'...leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.'
Mini-Livers Made By 3D Printer
Organleggers may experience an employment downturn.
Smartphone Sensor System Tracks Gunfire
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...'
Bacteria Now Make Biofuel Like Oil
'They have ... germs that eat pretty near anything, and produce oil as a waste product.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories