New Materials One Atom Thick Extracted With Micromechanical Cleavage

A new class of materials just one atom thick has been discovered by Professor Andre Geim and a team of British and Russian scientists. These "science fiction" materials are created by extracting individual atomic planes from conventional bulk crystals by using a technique called 'micromechanical cleavage'.

The resulting material can be ultra-strong, highly-insulating or highly-conductive. The researchers found that the atomically thin sheets they extracted were not only stable under ambient conditions but also exhibited extremely high crystal quality, which is what gives them their unique properties.

Unlike the recent discovery of graphene by Professor Geim and his team, this discovery unlocks a treasure chest full of thousands of different materials, with a variety of physical properties.

Professor Geim states:

"This discovery opens up practically infinite possibilities for applications which people have never even thought of yet. These materials are lightweight, strong and flexible, and there is a huge choice of them. This is not only about smart gadgets. Like polymers whose pervasiveness changed our everyday life forever, one-atom-thick materials could be used in a myriad of routine applications from clothing to computers."
(From One-atom-thick materials)

In his Hugo-awardwinning 1966 novel This Immortal, Roger Zelazny wrote about a uniquely light tent called a Gauzy:

Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent, opaque, feather-light, and very tough. He never slept in it, though. He just used it to stash his junk.
(Read more about the Gauzy)

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