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 ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.
New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.
Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.
MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.
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.
Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'
NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'
ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'
Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'
Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'
Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'
Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.
NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'
Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.
Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'
MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'
Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'
Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'
WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'
Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories