Scientists who discovered graphene, have for the first time demonstrated how the “Big Mac” – a four-layered structure, could be the key to replacing the silicon chip in computers.
Scientists at the University of Manchester, undertook the demonstration by sandwiching two sheets of graphene with another two-dimensional material, boron nitrate.
Since there are two layers of graphene completed surrounded by the boron nitrate, this has allowed the researchers for the first time to observe how graphene behaves when unaffected by the environment.
“Creating the multilayer structure has allowed us to isolate graphene from negative influence of the environment and control graphene’s electronic properties in a way it was impossible before,” Dr Leonid Ponomarenko, leading author on the paper, said.
“So far people have never seen graphene as an insulator unless it has been purposefully damaged, but here high-quality graphene becomes an insulator for the first time,” he said.
The two layers of boron nitrate are used not only to separate two graphene layers but also to see how graphene reacts when it is completely encapsulated by another material.
Graphene is a novel two-dimensional material which can be seen as a monolayer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.
Its remarkable properties could lead to bendy, touch screen phones and computers, lighter aircraft, wallpaper-thin HD TV sets and superfast internet connections, to name but a few.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Physics.