Navigation Links
Graphene gazing gives glimpse of foundations of universe
Date:4/4/2008

Researchers at The University of Manchester have used graphene to measure an important and mysterious fundamental constant - and glimpse the foundations of the universe.

The researchers from The School of Physics and Astronomy, led by Professor Andre Geim, have found that the worlds thinnest material absorbs a well-defined fraction of visible light, which allows the direct determination of the fine structure constant.

Working with Portuguese theorists from The University of Minho in Portugal, Geim and colleagues report their findings online in the latest edition of Science Express. The paper will be published in the journal Science in the coming weeks.

The universe and life on this planet are intimately controlled by several exact numbers; so-called fundamental or universal constants such as the speed of light and the electric charge of an electron.

Among them, the fine structure constant is arguably most mysterious. It defines the interaction between very fast moving electrical charges and light or electromagnetic waves and its exact value is close to 1/137.

Prof Geim, who in 2004 discovered graphene with Dr Kostya Novoselov, a one-atom-thick gauze of carbon atoms resembling chicken wire, says: Change this fine tuned number by only a few percent and the life would not be here because nuclear reactions in which carbon is generated from lighter elements in burning stars would be forbidden. No carbon means no life.

Geim now working together with PhD students Rahul Nair and Peter Blake have for the first time produced large suspended membranes of graphene so that one can easily see light passing through this thinnest of all materials.

The researchers have found the carbon monolayer is not crystal-clear but notably opaque, absorbing a rather large 2.3 percent of visible light. The experiments supported by theory show this number divided by Pi gives you the exact value of the fine structures constant.

The fundamental reason for this is that electrons in graphene behave as if they have completely lost their mass, as shown in the previous work of the Manchester group and repeated by many researchers worldwide.

The accuracy of the optical determination of the constant so far is relatively low, by metrological standards.

But researchers say the simplicity of the Manchester experiment is truly amazing as measurements of fundamental constants normally require sophisticated facilities and special conditions.

With large membranes in hand, Prof Geim says it requires barely anything more sophisticated then a camera to measure visual transparency of graphene.

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, said Prof Geim.

Graphene continues to surprise beyond the wildest imagination of the early days when we found this material.

It works like a magic wand whatever property or phenomenon you address with graphene, it brings you back a sheer magic.

I was rather pessimistic about graphene-based technologies coming out of research labs any time soon. I have to admit I was wrong. They are coming sooner rather than later.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alex Waddington
alex.waddington@manchester.ac.uk
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. UM physicists show electrons can travel over 100 times faster in graphene than in silicon
2. Biopure Gives Update on Malaysia Joint Venture Discussions
3. Laser Therapy Gives Smokers Hope for Successful New Years Resolution
4. Montana State University lab gives early warnings about biological invaders
5. European Commission gives grant to investigate transatlantic oversight of nanotech
6. Share Issue Gives Cellectricon SEK 89 Million to Continue its Rapid Market Expansion
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/21/2017)... Washington, USA (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 ... ... sensing, imaging, and related applications were the focus of researchers, engineers, product developers, ... 2017 in Anaheim. , Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), a business incubator ... a $77,518 grant from the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) to support refurbishment of ... incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI is a public-private partnership of the governments of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... April 20, 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... evaluating galcanezumab for the prevention of migraine at the ... take place April 22-28, 2017, in Boston ... abstracts at AAN, including safety and patient outcomes data ... with a reduction in monthly migraine headache days among ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... , ... NetDimensions appoints Bill Mastin, a learning technology veteran, as its new ... the learning technologies industry, Mastin joins NetDimensions from the New York office of learning ... LEO, Mastin served as SVP of the North America offices and prior to that, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its ... Summits will run alongside the expo portion of the ... panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D ... design and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... DUBLIN , Apr. 11, 2017 Research ... Tracking Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at ... The report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 ... RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, ... Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), ... Educational, Other) Are you looking for a ... sector? ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):