Flat-out carbon


Just a quick note to point out a couple of articles (subscription required) that Nature Nanotechnology has recently published on what is currently the trendiest of all carbon nanostructures – graphene.

Published online in advance of print, is a paper from Gordon Wallace and co-workers in Australia and the US, that shows how a simple chemical method can be used to produce stable dispersions of well-separated graphene sheets. This approach relies on maximizing the repulsive electrostatic interactions between the tiny one-atom-thick flakes of carbon – and, therefore, does away with the need for additional chemical stabilizers that can be a problem in applications where pristine samples work best. If you don’t have access to Nature Nanotechnology, you can still read the press release.

Also, back in our January 2008 issue, we had a News & Views article written by Rod Ruoff from UT Austin called, “Calling all chemists”. Although graphene has been a hot topic in the physics and materials communities, chemists are now beginning to start experimenting with the latest carbon nano-wonder themselves – and Ruoff chronicles the early stages of what he refers to as the ‘chemistry part’ of the graphene story.

As an aside, have you noticed how the interest in carbon nanomaterials has peaked in order of their dimensionality? First it was 0-D, when Kroto, Curl and Smalley presented us with buckyballs. Then came 1-D structures in the form of carbon nanotubes. Recently, there has been a shift into 2-D, with a focus on graphene. Watch this space, however, it won’t be long before 3-D is next… diamondoids are already receiving some attention.


Stuart Cantrill (Senior Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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