Graphene From Garbage (and Girl Scout cookies and bugs)

Biscuits, rubbish and bugs in Texas raise hopes that Britain will grow a lucrative new techology-based empire soon, rather than just eventually. This is all about getting usable amounts of graphene – the two-dimensional form of carbon. An American experiment, so goofy-sounding that it has drawn little attention, points towards a cheap way of obtaining what is now a scarily expensive substance.

Scientists had long known that graphene exists, and that it is common. The grey stuff in pencils is made of multitudinous layers of graphene, sticking to each other. When you scribble, a gob of layers slides away, clinging thereafter to your sheet of paper. A few years ago…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

BONUS: Video of Jim Tour‘s cookies/rubbish/bugs experiment at Rice University:

BONUS: More detail about growing graphene [HT Richard Van Noorden]