Thinnest material could speed up phones


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Electronic devices, from mobile phones to computers, could work faster if they were made from the world's thinnest substance, scientists from Manchester University have discovered.

Studies on graphene, a material made of a single layer of carbon atoms, revealed that electrons – subatomic particles that result in electricity – travel much faster than in silicon, the basis of computer chips.

The discovery suggests that it may be possible to create a new generation of super-fast mobile phones and computers based on graphene.

Professor Kostya Novoselov of Manchester University, who shared last year's Nobel prize in physics with colleague Andre Geim for their work on graphene, said research has shown that electrons behave very differently when travelling through graphene.

"Electrons in graphene have huge mobility, they travel very fast. It's quite a big result in terms of the physics and may have some implications in terms of potential applications," Professor Novoselov said.

Graphene possesses unique properties, such as extremely high electron and thermal conductivities due to very high velocities of electrons and high quality of the crystals, in addition to mechanical strength.