Scientists Say: Graphene

This ultra-thin carbon layer is super strong and conducts electricity


In a sheet of graphene, each carbon atom (gray balls) links to three others to create a flat lattice.

AlexanderAlUS/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Graphene (noun, “GRA-feen”)

This is a sheet of carbon atoms that is only one atom thick. Graphene is so thin that 25,000 sheets of it stacked on each other are only as thick as a piece of paper. But graphene is incredibly strong — 200 times stronger than steel. It can also conduct electricity. Graphene can be used to make ultra-thin parts for computers, cell phones and more. 

In a sentence

Graphene is an important part of a type of artificial skin that can “feel” heat and texture.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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