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Graphene: The Key to the Future


Why Graphene Holds the Key to the Future

In public lecture at UC Riverside on May 19, graphene expert Jeanie Lau will discuss wonders of the new exciting material

(May 9, 2011)

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Jeanie Lau is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside.  Photo credit: L. Duka.  (Another photo below.)Enlarge

Jeanie Lau is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside. Photo credit: L. Duka. (Another photo below.)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Graphene, a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal rings, is the latest “wonder material” that has taken scientific communities and industrial sectors by storm.

Bearing excellent material properties, such as high current-carrying capacity and thermal conductivity, graphene is ideally suited for creating components for semiconductor circuits and computers. Moreover, it enables table-top experimental tests of a number of phenomena in physics involving quantum mechanics and relativity.

Jeanie Lau, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, will give a free public lecture on campus to discuss what graphene is, why it is interesting, what novel properties it boasts, and how it may impact our lives in 10-20 years.

Titled “Size Matters: Nanotechnology & Other Wonders in Carbon Flatland,” the hour-long lecture will begin at 6 p.m., May 19, in Rooms D-E, University Extension Center (UNEX).

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Seating is open. Parking at UNEX will be free for lecture attendees.

“Graphene has many wondrous properties that are literally mind-boggling,” said Lau, recipient of a 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. “For instance, it is stronger than steel yet softer than Saran wrap; it is transparent yet conducts electricity and heat much better than copper. It has been hailed as the most promising material to replace silicon for the next generation of electronics. It is produced by every school kid, but was only ‘discovered’ in 2004 and won the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics for its co-discoverers.”

Graphene’s planar geometry allows the fabrication of electronic devices and the tailoring of a variety of electrical properties. Because it is only one-atom thick, it can potentially be used to make ultra-small devices and further miniaturize electronics. Scientifically, it is a new model system for condensed-matter physics, the branch of physics that deals with the physical properties of solid materials.

Lau’s talk is being hosted by UCR’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Science Circle, a group of university and community members committed to advancing science at UCR and in Inland Southern California.

The talk is the last of four lectures scheduled this year. The lecture series, titled “Science & Society: Major Issues of the 21st Century,” aims to boost the public’s awareness and understanding of science and of how scientists work.

More information about the lecture series can be obtained by visiting www.cnas.ucr.edu, calling (951) 827-6555 or emailing Carol Lerner.

Teachers interested in receiving professional development credit for attending the lecture series must make arrangements in advance with University Extension [awebb@ucx.ucr.edu; (951) 827-1653].
Jeanie Lau, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, talks to audience members after her presentation, May 19. Photo credit: S. Clausen, UC Riverside.Enlarge

Jeanie Lau, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, talks to audience members after her presentation, May 19. Photo credit: S. Clausen, UC Riverside.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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