Monday, June 20, 2011

Silicine might be the new graphene, now that it's been physically constructed

Surely you've heard of graphene, the one-atom-thick layer of pencil lead that has the potential to change the world of computers, batteries and screens? You might want to familiarize yourself with the term "silicine," too. It's basically a version of graphene constructed out of silicon, which doesn't naturally align itself into the same eminently useful honeycomb shape -- but, given a little prod here and a layer of silver or ceramic compound there, can do much the same thing, and with better computing compatibility. First proposed around 2007, it's reportedly been produced twice now by two different teams, which gives physicists hope that it could actually be useful some day. For now, researchers need to figure out a way to easily produce it so detailed experiments can be performed -- from what we understand, the good ol' scotch tape method just won't do the job.