back to article Boffins crack superconducting graphene's melting mystery

Scientists in Manchester appear to have solved a problem with graphene that has plagued the super-material's fans since it was sliced into being in 2004. The breakthrough takes the wunder-material one step closer to being the new silicon, and powering a new wave of computers. Graphene lattice, credit AlexanderAlUS, via …


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  1. Dave Wray

    So when does it hit Argos?

    Stop declaring it's wonderfulness and make something with it I can bleedin buy!!!!

  2. Alastair Dodd 1


    That image makes my eyes water and swim.. anyone else?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep; as my eyes moved to read the text just above and below that image, my brain was insistant that the picture was jumping about...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's this illusion at work!

  3. JDX Gold badge

    Eyes hurt

    Yes me too.

  4. Thomas 18


    Computers made from carbon... check

    Self replicating computers made from carbon... work in progress

    Unstable AI status... frustratingly stable

  5. Chemist

    Regular arrays like that

    can produce that effect. I've spent a lot of time looking at 3D chemical graphics of various types over the last 30 years and have got used to the games they can play. If you cross your eyes or defocus them you might well find the images shift around to give the impression that you are looking from below. Try changing the size or darkening the room.

    1. Shady

      I spent the last 30 minutes trying to defocus, but I still couldn't see the naked chick

      1. Chemist

        Ah !

        You need to use liquid crystal glasses NOT beer goggles

      2. Anonymous Coward

        naked chick?

        I thought it was a sailboat.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I spent the weekend changing the size of the room, and it didn't help at all.

  6. Silverburn

    "Sub tHZ"

    You just know, the moment they release a 900Ghz chip there will be a race to be the first to a stable overclock at the magical 1tHz (remember the fun we had overclocking to 1ghz?).

    <-- And this is the result of failure.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      "I believe they can be improved much further, scaled down to nanometre sizes and work at sub-THz frequencies"

      When I read that I almost peed ! :D

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. despairing citizen

    Huge Government Investment in British Tech

    £50m over 3 years!

    Ok, how much does intel invest in nudging the corners of existing silicon tech evey year.?

    Look forward to yet another discovery made in britian and exploited by every but the UK.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      I think you'll find Cambridge University (amongst others no doubt) garner a fucking fortune lot of money in licence fees for all the stuff they've invented there over the years.

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      You love Britain so much

      yet you can't spell its name or even be bothered to capitalise it properly.

      That aside, this is fundamental research where the limiting factor tends to be the researchers not the equipment so if you really want to keep the research in Britain you can't just throw money at it. (How many tunneling electron microscopes can one team use?) And yes this research is going to be exploited by all the world - that's how fundamental research works. If Edison made more money out of electricity than Faraday it wasn't because Faraday was under-appreciated. (It was probably because Edison was a thieving bastard.)

  8. Pahhh

    From my experience of physics

    This is high end physics / chemistry and the whatnot and but as I almost got an O'level in physics, I think its time that I point out their errors and also how graphine should be used and how those pesky scientist are doing it all wrong.

    See, the molecular shape of graphene is such that blah blah blah, and they should have thought of that, blah blah blah. I would have blah blah blah and then under normal room temperature we could have blah blah blah blah and that could then be used for blah blah. Remember that I'm a little rusty of course. Now for those of you without my understanding, what this all means is blah blah blah blah and thats really important and useful, IF they listen to my advice.

    Even though I'm not an acknowledged world expert, I really think they missed a trick that any schoolboy would have spotted.

  9. Dave Jewell


    Not sure we can refer to graphene as superconducting - this seems a bit premature and/or inaccurate. If it can be made to superconduct, then (a) it will need doping with some impurities and (b) it isn't going to be available as a room temperature superconductor (from Argos or otherwise!) any time soon.

  10. Hungry Sean

    man. . .

    when I first started hearing about graphene I didn't really get the fuss. Now it seems like every three weeks this team comes up with a cool, potentially useful, and totally different thing to do with it. This is some seriously cool stuff. Groundbreaking technology being driven by creative and talented scientists-- I think we'll be seeing the effects of this work for the next few decades.

    Then I get to the bottom of the article. 50 million pounds in funding for development. In the US we backed developing atomic energy and weapons with billions of dollars and the best scientists we could get our hands on. Telephony was developed with the aid of a state sanctioned monopoly. 50 million pounds and an attaboy is a pathetic joke.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      Inventing things on a shoe-string is still one of the vanishingly few things that are still Great about Britain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A man called Ray wearing a brown coat asks you, "Will Tuesday do?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      we no silly

      the british are clever enough to realise that there is no point plowing zillions into something which is then dublicated cheaply by someone else 5 mins later. let the paranoid do the running jumping and spending.

      1. perlcat

        These problems need the *right* minds working on them

        Throwing the money at this in hopes of having a faster result falls under the classic assumption that if one woman can crank out a baby in 9 months, then 9 women can do it in one.

        Hoisting a glass to having the right minds working on it.

    3. MacGyver
      Paris Hilton


      I remember making graphene in middle school with scotch tape:

      1) Scribble pencil on some paper.

      2) Lay tape on scribble.

      3) Put second piece of tape on scribble laden tape.

      4) Pull apart.

      5) Admire graphene on second piece of tape.

      It was just that, an odd form of carbon that could be made without a lab,.

      I thought graphene was defined as a mono-layer of graphite, if this is graphene stacked vertically, is it still graphene at that point or a carbon nanotube?

  11. Rustident Spaceniak

    Sub-tHz frequencies, that would include anything below, right? Like including sub-kHz?

  12. JDX Gold badge

    Is graphene the thing that's going to tip us over into The Singularity?

  13. earl grey Silver badge

    Nice job there Boffins....

    take time for a brew.

  14. Wannazzaki

    THz you say?

    Perhaps with that i can get Dwarf Fortress to run at a reasonable speed after 10 years on the same fort.

  15. Big_Boomer Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    You are NUMBER 6

    Carbon, the WONDER-ELEMENT!

    Just Carbon all on it's own is a remarkable element, even before you consider what it can do with other elements.

    We have Diamond the Hard, Graphite the Slippery, Buckminster-Fullerene the Globular and it's extended Nanotubes, and now Graphene the Super-Conductor / Semi-Conductor / Alcohol Concentrator.

    Not only that but someone at El Reg does seem to be in love with you Carbon. ;-)

  16. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    I understood every word of that.

    The actual sentences, on the other hand...

  17. Graham Wilson

    Not too bad really.

    "...layering graphene between atomic planes of boron nitride and molybdenum disulphide.

    Not a bad effort really for a mixture of a kind of pencil lead, a hard high-speed cutting material and a bit of high-temperature dry lubricant.

    I never thought quantum tunneling could be quite so prosaic. For those who frequent machine shops, it's time to pay much more reverence to these humble materials. Yuh never know, your next career advancement might find you trading slot drills and endmills for the wave equation and junction potentials.


    1. popper

      Re: Not too bad really.

      Graham Wilson,thats not as odd as you might think, it always seems odd to me that the nano guys dont really talk to the tried and trusted mechanical engineers and how they solve problems and simplify things to make them work in the real world outside the lab every day, they should be talking on a daily schedule in all field's bio mechanics too, to you guys.

  18. popper

    late to the party i know but....

    i wonder if the Manchester prof's Andre and Konstantin ever nipped down the road and looked at doping their Graphene with "Blue John" given thats a mineral you cant get anywhere but the north west England , or even looked at its properties/Makeup at these scales.

    i always like reading and being inspired to make hypothetical hybrid devices by combining several of the current tech as found at etc

    , shame the UK universities cant be bothered to set-up and make popular a daily to advertise their discoveries in an end user UK based central nano news uk site for all like this....

    plenty of choice for many a hybrid device if anyone large or small cares to try and make something viable for the UK markets in limited quantity.

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