Tech

Finding the Killer App for Graphene

It may be ultra-strong and ultra-flexible, but it will take time -- and the right product -- to transform the world.

The key to a new world?

Photographer: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/GettyImages

In 2002, a researcher experimenting with graphite -- aka pencil lead -- in physics professor Andre Geim’s lab at the U.K.’s University of Manchester discovered an ultra-thin layer of the substance sticking to a piece of Scotch tape in a wastebasket. Geim took the tape, folded it and pulled it apart a few times, and saw under a microscope that the layer kept getting thinner. As John Colapinto told the story in the New Yorker in 2014:

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