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Layer ­pon Layer


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Layers in graphite block

When compounds of bromine or chlorine (represented in blue) are introduced into a block of graphite (shown in green), the atoms find their way into the structure in between every third sheet, thus increasing the spacing between those sheets and making it easier to split them apart.

Chih-Jen Shih / Christine Daniloff

Graphene, a form of pure carbon arranged in a lattice just one atom thick, has interested countless researchers with its unique strength and its electrical and thermal conductivity. But one key property it lacks—which would make it suitable for a plethora of new uses—is the ability to form a band gap, needed for devices such as transistors, computer chips, and solar cells.

From MIT News Office
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