Graphene, meet mainstream
PBS - 08/19/2015
In the lab of Swastik Kar, lead author of one of the recent papers and a professor of physics at Northeastern University, I find myself staring at a piece of graphene that his group has meticulously deposited on a postage-stamp sized piece of copper foil. It looks like a postage-stamp sized piece of copper foil. With two-dimensional materials, you’ve got to get up close and personal to see what the big deal is about.
Across Kar’s lab, graduate student Anthony Vargas is using a microscope to examine another two-dimensional material called molybdenum disulfide. Magnified 1,000 times, it’s a Picasso-like frenzy of intersecting pink triangles against a magenta background. The triangle theme is neither accident nor artistry—it’s physics, resulting from how the atoms form up in groups and tessellate across the surface. Molybdenum disulfide crystals form triangles, which happen to be neatly compatible with graphene’s hexagons.