In the technology industry, every new product or service seems to come with the promise that it is an innovation with the potential to change the world. Graphene, a form of carbon, might actually do just that.POPULAR AMONG SUBSCRIBERSSaving PreemiesSubscribeNarendra Modi: The New Face of IndiaThe Sexual Assault Crisis on American Campuses“Graphene is a wonderful material,” Jeanie Lau, a professor of physics at the University of California at Riverside, toldFortune. “It conducts heat 10 times better than copper and electricity 100 times better than silicon, is transparent like plastic, extremely lightweight, extremely strong, yet flexible and elastic. In the past decade, it has taken the scientific and technology communities by storm, and has become the most promising electronic material to supplement or replace silicon.”Graphene has already found its way into a number of compelling applications, Lau said. For instance, “since it is both transparent and electrically conductive — two attributes rarely found in the same material in nature — it has tremendous potential as the transparent electrode in monitors, displays, solar cells, and touch screens,” she explained. “Companies such as Samsung that invest heavily in this area have already secured patents, produced prototypes, and are expected to bring products to market in a few years.”Wearable electronic devices, aviation components, broadband photodetectors, radiation-resistant coatings, sensors, and energy storage are among numerous other areas of active research, Lau said.
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