British university scientists win Nobel prize for physics for discovery of 'graphene' - an atom-thick carbon layer 200 times stronger than steel
Last updated at 6:03 PM on 5th October 201
- Graphene could lead to new super-fast electronics
- Bonds between carbon atoms are the strongest in nature
- Novoselov is youngest Nobel laureate since 1973
Two British-based scientists have shared the Nobel Prize for physics for their discovery of a new material that is only an atom thick and which could change the future of electronics.
Russian-born Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both from Manchester University, today won the prize for their 'groundbreaking experiments' with graphene - a microscopic flake of carbon.
The award comes after yesterday's long-awaited Nobel prize for medicine for British scientist Professor Richard Edwards - the inventor of IVF.
Since its discovery in 2004 by the pair, graphene has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics.
Success story: Professor Andrei Geim (left) and Professor Konstantin Novoselov pictured today after hearing they had won the Nobel prize for their work with graphene at Manchester University
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that their experiments with graphene could lead to the development of new materials and 'the manufacture of innovative electronics'.
Geim, 51, is a Dutch national while Novoselov, 36, holds British and Russian citizenship. Both are natives of Russia and started their careers in physics there.
Geim said he was shocked by the announcement but planned to go back to work as usual today.
'My plan for today is to go to work and finish up a paper that I didn't finish this week,' he said. 'I just try to muddle on as before.'
Professor Konstantin Novoselov said: 'I was really shocked when I heard the news and my first thought was to go to the lab and tell the team.'
The pair extracted the super-thin material from a piece of graphite such as that found in ordinary pencils using sticky tape.
'Playfulness is one of their hallmarks, one always learns something in the process and, who knows, you may even hit the jackpot,' the committee said in its release.
One millimetre of graphite actually consists of 3 million layers of graphene stacked on top of each other, although they are weakly held together.
Graphene was discovered at Manchester University in 2004. It is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms bound in a hexagonal network.
The ultra-thin material called graphene could help develop super fast electronics
The bonds between the carbon atoms are the strongest in nature and the free electrons are highly mobile. It not only promises to revolutionise semiconductor, sensor, and display technology, but could also lead to breakthroughs in fundamental quantum physics research.
It is often depicted as an atomic-scale chicken wire made of carbon atoms and their