Our comprehensive introduction to nanotechnology and nanoscience
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Nanoscale in One Dimension –Graphene and other single- and few-layer materials
Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Graphene is undoubtedly emerging as one of the most promising nanomaterials because of its unique combination of superb properties, which opens a way for its exploitation in a wide spectrum of applications ranging from electronics to optics, sensors, and biodevices.
For instance, graphene-based nanomaterials have many promising applications in energy-related areas. Just some recent examples: Graphene improves both energy capacity and charge rate in rechargeable batteries; activated graphene makes superior supercapacitors for energy storage; graphene electrodes may lead to a promising approach for making solar cells that are inexpensive, lightweight and flexible; and multifunctional graphene mats are promising substrates for catalytic systems (read more:graphene nanotechnology in energy).
The fascination with atomic-layer materials that has started with graphene has spurred researchers to look for other 2D structures like for instance metal carbides and nitrides.
One particularly interesting analogue to graphene would be 2D silicon – silicene – because it could be synthesized and processed using mature semiconductor techniques, and more easily integrated into existing electronics than graphene is currently.
Another material of interest is 2D boron, an element with worlds of unexplored potential. And yet another new two-dimensional material – made up of layers of crystal known as molybdenum oxides – has unique properties that encourage the free flow of electrons at ultra-high speeds.